Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
All Out 2021
Date: September 5, 2021
Location: Now Arena, Chicago, Illinois
Commentators: Jim Ross, Excalibur, Tony Schiavone
We’re back to the still fairly rare AEW pay per view schedule with an absolutely stacked show. There are three major matches this time around, including CM Punk vs. Darby Allin, Chris Jericho vs. MJF and Kenny Omega defending the World Title against Christian Cage. Let’s get to it.
Buy-In: Hardy Family Office vs. Orange Cassidy/Wheeler Yuta/Chuck Taylor/Jurassic Express
Matt Hardy shoves Taylor into the corner because he wants Orange. He gets Luchasaurus instead so Jack Evans gets a rather fast tag. Luchasaurus sends Evans flying with a suplex and it’s off to Boy to send Evans into the corner. Quen and Yuta come in, with the former getting two off a running crossbody.
We get the big sequence of most of the people trying a hold at the same time to as much avail as you would expect. Luchasaurus comes back in to throw people around, including a knee to the face to drop Evans. Private Party and Hardy come in to take Luchasaurus down but Orange breaks it up with the slow motion kicks. That earns him a Codebreaker into a shooting star onto his back, followed by a trip to the floor. We get a short form parade of dives but Orange heads back inside for the hands in pockets comeback to drop Private Party.
Hardy is back in with a Twist of Fate but now it’s Jungle getting to clean house. Angelico and Luchasaurus put Evans and Jungle on their respective shoulders for a chicken fight but here is the Blade to interfere. Marko Stunt dives off of Luchasaurus’ shoulder to take him out, leaving Jungle to make Angelico tap with the Snare Trap at 8:34.
Rating: C+. Take a bunch of popular wrestlers, put them in the ring with a bunch of unpopular wrestlers, have them fly around a lot and do cool spots to pop the crowd. That’s how you do a match like this and they made it work well here. This was a fun, quick spectacle and it wasn’t supposed to be anything else.
The opening video runs down the big matches.
TNT Title: Miro vs. Eddie Kingston
Miro is defending. Kingston goes for his neck to start but has to fight out of an early Game Over attempt. That’s enough to send Miro outside for an early breather as they both feel very serious. Back in and Kingston snaps off a suplex, earning a rather loud cheer from the crowd as Miro bails back to the floor. This time Kingston joins him and gets sent hard into the barricade to put Kingston in trouble for the first time.
That lasts all of a few seconds as he is back with a kick to Miro’s face. A dive off the apron is countered into a powerslam though and Miro, despite holding his neck, gets a breather. There’s a hard posting to put Kingston down again and it’s a backbreaker back inside. We hit the chinlock but Kingston fights back up with the chops. Miro knocks him silly again but Kingston snaps off a jumping enziguri.
A Saito suplex drops Miro again, allowing Excalibur to rattle off Kingston’s Japanese influences. Back up and they chop it out, with Kingston getting the better of things to set up more Saito suplexes for two. The threat of a spinning backfist sends Miro outside so Kingston hits the suicide elbow. Back in and Kingston’s fisherman’s suplex gets two as the fans are all behind Kingston. Miro pulls him into the corner though and unloads with forearms to the back.
Kingston accidentally pulls the turnbuckle pad off but Miro catches him with the jumping kick to the face. Game Over goes on but Kingston falls forward to make the rope for the break. That is NOT cool with Miro, who walks into the spinning backfist into the DDT for a delayed two as the referee was getting rid of the turnbuckle pad. Some knees connect to Miro so he goes into the corner, allowing him to sneak in a low blow. The jumping superkick retains the title at 13:25.
Rating: B. This was two big guys hitting each other hard but there was a story there too. Kingston set up the neck and the DDT, which had been built up in the last week, gave him a great near fall. Miro needing to cheat to survive was a good way to go and the crowd was WAY into everything all night. Very good choice for an opener here and I got into it.
We run down the card.
Jon Moxley vs. Satoshi Kojima
Moxley wanted someone from New Japan and Kojima accepted. The bell rings and Moxley flips him off, setting up the big chop off. They forearm it out until Kojima runs him over with a shoulder and Moxley rolls outside. Kojima catches him with a dive and Excalibur is right there to list Kojima’s accomplishments. Moxley jumps back inside for a suicide dive of his own and a Russian legsweep sends Kojima into the barricade.
Back in and Moxley stomps on the hand and starts cranking on it for a bit, followed by the knees to the chest. Kojima sends him into the corner though for the rapid fire chops and a top rope elbow gets two on Moxley. Back up and Moxley snaps off a suplex before taking Kojima up top. That just earns Moxley a superplex back down and a DDT on the apron makes it worse. Tony calls Moxley a representative of the state of Chicago and even JR gets on him a bit for it.
Back in and Moxley (with a cut elbow, which causes Excalibur to mention Moxley’s staph infection from a year or so ago in a great catch) hits a release suplex, or Jason Jett’s Crash Landing for you last few weeks of WCW fans. The Paradigm Shift into the brainbuster gets a delayed two and Moxley is rocked. Kojima’s lariat is countered into a German suplex for two and a jumping knee drops Kojima again. Back up and Kojima hits the lariat into the Koji Cutter but can’t cover.
They slug it out from their knees and then their feet until Moxley blasts him with a lariat of his own. The bulldog choke goes on but Kojima makes the rope. Some Mongolian chops rock Moxley, who counters another lariat into the Paradigm Shift. Another Paradigm Shift finishes Kojima at 11:55.
Rating: B-. This was another fun one with Moxley getting a win over a credible opponent. There is something cool about AEW’s relationship with New Japan (stupid name aside) but I’m not a huge fan of having the dream matches with little personal backstory. The action made up for it and the match was good, though I could have used a better build.
Respect is shown post match….but none of that matters as Minoru Suzuki is here. Suzuki takes off his shirt and they forearm it out with Moxley throwing in a bow of respect. That’s fine with Suzuki, who wins the slugout and chokes Moxley out. The Gotch style piledriver leaves Moxley laying.
We recap Britt Baker defending the Women’s Title against Kris Statlander with a bunch of talking heads giving their predictions.
Women’s Title: Britt Baker vs. Kris Statlander
Baker, with Rebel and Jamie Hayter, is defending and Orange Cassidy is here with Statlander. They stare each other down a bit until Statlander starts working on Baker’s recently broken arm. That’s broken up though and Baker takes her into the corner for a hanging neckbreaker. The seconds are near blows on the floor as Baker sends Statlander face first into the apron.
Baker grabs a neck crank to keep Statlander in trouble but she fights up for some running shots to rock Baker in the corner. Statlander grabs a modified Falcon Arrow for two but Baker is back with a hard DDT for the same. Baker loads up the glove, which takes long enough for Statlander to kick her in the head.
Statlander’s Area 451 misses though and Baker grabs a crossface. That’s countered into an electric chair faceplant and an ax kick gives Statlander two. Baker is sent outside but the big dive misses. A Stomp rocks Statlander again but she is able to counter the Lockjaw back inside. The Spider Crab is countered as well and Baker busts out a Panama Sunrise for two. Another stomp sets up the Lockjaw to retain at 11:33.
Rating: B. These two beat the fire out of each other and the fans were into it, even without the drama over who was going to win. Statlander was a good choice of an opponent as she feels like a credible enough of a threat but was always going to come up short in the end. Baker could be champ for a long time, but it is going to go through Thunder Rosa at some point and that is all that matters.
Andrade El Idolo and Chavo Guerrero deny having anything to do with Pac’s travel issues. El Idolo is ready for Pac on Rampage.
We recap the Lucha Bros vs. the Young Bucks in a cage for the Tag Team Titles. The Bucks keep cheating to win and the teams have a history of major matches in the company’s history.
Tag Team Title: Lucha Bros vs. Young Bucks
The Bros are challenging in a cage and get rapped to the ring. Don Callis joins commentary as the Bucks try to leave early. That’s broken up with ease though as the Bros score with kicks to their backs. More kicks, including stereo kicks to the kneeling Bucks, keep the Bros in control but the Bucks kick them right back down. Penta winds up on the floor between the ring and the cage (which doesn’t connect to the apron), leaving Fenix to get powerbombed against the cage.
There’s a kick to Penta’s head and a chain is used to choke Fenix. A hurricanrana sends Matt into the cage and Penta is back in with a Backstabber out of the corner. The Bros’ stereo low superkicks only hit each other and Matt hits a top rope flipping Stunner on Penta. A double rolling cutter drops the Bucks as well and the Penta Driver gives Penta two on Matt. The Bucks are back up with more kicks and Fenix is sent into the cage.
The Swanton/Tombstone get two on the Bros but the BTE Trigger knees only hit each other. Fenix sends the Bucks into each other but Matt kicks both of them low. More Bang For Your Buck gets two on Fenix so the frustrated Bucks go after the masks. Callis calls it psychology, which Tony calls BS. Fenix is sent face first into the cage and Cutler throws his bag into the cage. Matt loads up a thumb tack shoe but Penta gets in front of Fenix. That’s fine with Matt, who kicks Penta in the head instead.
Penta is sent into the boot in the corner, with his mask getting stuck for a disturbing visual. A running boot from Nick drives Penta’s head even further into the tacks and there’s a superkick into the poisonrana to Fenix. The BTE Trigger gets two on Penta with Fenix making a save to bring the crowd right back to life. Matt takes the shoe off but Fenix makes the comeback with his variety of insane kicks. The shoe goes upside the Bucks’ heads and the Black Fire Driver gets two on Matt. The spike Fear Factor is broken up so Nick and Fenix climb the cage to slug it out.
Matt and Penta pull them down for stereo package piledrivers on the apron, setting up the big slugout. Matt goes up top with Penta though and it’s a super Canadian Destroyer to bring him back down to put everyone out. Everyone gets back up for a circle strike off until they’re all knocked down again. Back up and a Fear Factor gets two on Nick so Fenix goes up to the top of the cage. Nick saves Matt from the package piledriver and climbs up top with Fenix, only to get kicked back down. Fenix dives onto all three of them (dang) and the spike Fear Factor FINALLY ends the Bucks’ reign at 22:02.
Rating: A-. They had to do the title change here and even though things got bleak for the Bros more than once, all that matters was the big ending. The Bucks had to lose here and it took a lot to put them away, but it was a heck of a match to get there. This was the big show stealing match and that’s all you could have expected it to be. Awesome stuff here and by far the best thing on the show so far.
We get the long celebration and a look back at the rest of the show as the cage is removed.
Casino Battle Royal
We have twenty entrants and three minute intervals between suits. Clubs are in first, including Hikaru Shida, Skye Blue, Emi Sakura, Bunny and Abadon, the latter of whom freaks out the announcers. Blue and Bunny slug it out to start with the hometown girl Blue getting a big reaction. Blue gets sent to the apron though and Abadon knocks her out in a hurry.
Bunny eliminates Abadon a few seconds later and is fine with letting Sakura put Shida in a surfboard. That’s broken up with a rake to Sakura’s face though and Bunny gets in some more stomping until the Diamonds come in. That means Anna Jay, Kiera Hogan, KiLynn King, Diamante and Nyla Rose.
The brawling is on again and Sakura is out in a hurry. Hogan and King follow her out and there goes Shida with them. Rose and Diamante team up to go after Bunny and Jay and split up in about ten seconds. The four of them are joined by the Hearts, in the form of Thunder Rosa, Penelope Ford, Riho, Jamie Hayter and Big Swole. Riho hits a double 619 on Ford and Conti but Hayter tosses her out. Swole headbutts Diamante out but gets tossed by Hayter as well. The fans are behind Rosa as she fights off Hayter and Rose in the corner.
Things slow down a bit until we get the Clubs, with Tay Conti, Red Velvet, Leylah Hirsch, Jade Cargill and Rebel. The brawling is on and Velvet dropkicks Rebel out. Bunny and Jay wind up on the apron and both are kicked out in a hurry. Cargill throws Hirsch out and onto the pile (including onto some referees) and the clock ticks down, bringing up the RUBY SOHO chants. The Joker is….Ruby Soho (formerly known as Ruby Riott).
The final grouping is Soho, Conti, Ford, Cargill, Hayter, Velvet, Rose and Rosa. Soho goes after Cargill and then Rose, with Rosa using Soho to take Rose down. Cargill pumphandle faceplants Soho and tosses Hayter out in a nasty crash. Velvet is tossed as well but Rose gets rid of Cargill. Conti gets rid of Ford but gets tossed as well, leaving us with Soho, Rosa and Rose.
Rosa and Soho are knocked silly in a hurry but Rose gets a bit too cocky, allowing Rosa to send her to the apron and kick her out for the elimination. They stare each other down until Rosa shouts in Spanish and chops her hard. The Fire Thunder Driver is broken up and Rosa is sent to the apron but she pulls Soho out with her. Soho can’t get a German suplex off the apron but she can knee Rosa off the apron for the win at 21:48.
Rating: C+. This is their signature deal with the decks and all that jazz but it doesn’t make for the most thrilling battle royal. It doesn’t help when the Joker gets the big advantage, but Soho winning is one of the right ways they can go. It made for a good moment, though the match could have been a bit shorter to keep things moving a bit faster.
We recap Chris Jericho vs. MJF. Jericho can’t beat MJF and has become obsessed with him, so tonight Jericho’s career is on the line.
Chris Jericho vs. Maxwell Jacob Friedman
We get the old school COUNTDOWN but it is only leading to “JERICHO’S LAST MATCH”. Ok points for some good trolling, along with MJF coming to the ring in a king’s robe. Jericho is played to the ring by Fozzy’s guitarist to quite the reaction. MJF bails to the floor to rip up some Jericho signs before coming back inside so Jericho can snap off some armdrags. MJF gets in a shot to the face so they head outside, where Jericho whips him into the crowd. Jericho drops things onto MJF’s head and they go back inside.
This time Jericho’s baseball slide is caught in the ring skirt though and the beating is on. MJF starts in on Jericho’s bad arm and drives his elbow into the shoulder. Jericho fights up but a shot to the arm cuts that off in a hurry. A headbutt and some chops set up MJF’s Fargo Strut and the Heatseeker on the apron crushes Jericho again. That’s good for a nine so MJF knocks him back outside, only to miss an Asai moonsault.
Back in and they slug it out with Jericho getting the better of things. Jericho goes up top but dives into a Codebreaker for two in a good moment. Back up and Jericho scores with a dropkick for two and the fans are behind him again. Some corner clotheslines and right hands look to set up a super hurricanrana but MJF counters into a super sitout powerbomb. MJF is banged up too though, allowing Jericho to come back with a Codebreaker for two. Cue Wardlow but Jake Hager comes out to take care of him in a hurry (because the Inner Circle and the Pinnacle are back for this match).
The distraction lets MJF get in a baseball bat shot and the Judas Effect hits Jericho…for the pin at 18:19, though Jericho’s foot was on the rope. Therefore hold on, as another referee comes out to explain things and the match will restart. The bell rings and Jericho grabs a rollup for two. MJF is right back with the Salt of the Earth, which is reversed into a rollup for two more. The hold goes back on but this time Jericho reverses into the Walls. MJF is dragged back to the middle of the ring and FINALLY taps to save Jericho’s career at 21:08.
Rating: B. This was another good one as MJF used all of Jericho’s stuff because he believes he is the better of the two. Then Jericho wins in the end, with the great false finish of the boot on the rope. I’m not sure how much good this whole thing has done for MJF because he ultimately lost in the end, but it was nice to see him in such a high profile feud over the last several months.
The Inner Circle comes out to celebrate with Jericho.
We recap CM Punk vs. Darby Allin, which includes Allin in a BEST IN THE WORLD body bag and being hung from a helicopter.
Darby Allin vs. CM Punk
This is Punk’s first match since January 2014 and he’s in tights instead of trunks. Allin sits in the corner so Punk sits in the middle of the ring for the staredown. They lock up and Allin armdrags him down, which has Punk thinking twice for a second. Back up and Punk shoulders him down, earning a WELCOME BACK chant. Punk has to clarify that they mean him before grabbing a headlock and laying on Allin for a bit.
That’s broken up as well so Allin hits a hard running shoulder of his own. The threat of the GTS sends Allin bailing to the floor though and we need a breather. Allin is back in with the high angle armdrag and some running shoulders in the corner. Punk whips him HARD over the top and out to the floor though with a nasty crash. Back in and a belly to back suplex sets up a double arm crank to keep Allin down.
The abdominal stretch goes on, followed by a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker (Allin: “OH S***!”) for two. Another abdominal stretch is countered into the flipping Stunner to give Allin a needed breather. The springboard Coffin Drop to a standing Punk sets up La Majistral for two and the Code Red gets the same. Punk catches him on top but a belly to back superplex is countered into a crossbody for two.
Back up and Punk scores with the GTS out of nowhere but Allin falls outside. Allin barely beats the count so Punk tries another GTS, which is countered with a bunch of elbows to the head. A big charge sends Punk outside and there’s a Swanton to a standing Punk outside. Back in and Allin loads up the Coffin Drop but Punk sits up. Allin’s cradle is countered but so is the GTS, allowing Allin to get two off the Last Supper. Punk’s leg lariat gets two so Allin loads up the poisonrana, only to get countered into the GTS for the pin at 16:08.
Rating: B. This was a well put together match as Punk got to stand still a lot and wrestle in bursts instead of going full speed the whole time. That allowed Allin to do most of the heavy lifting and protected Punk from not having his wind back yet. The big matches can come with time, but for now this was about getting Punk back in the ring to knock off some of the rust. Rather good match, mainly due to the setup and Allin’s work.
Post match Sting comes out to check on Allin, with Punk kneeling right next to him. Allin gets up and Punk shakes his hand for the cool moment. Punk gets to take a quick victory lap and says that was #1.
Full Gear is Saturday November 13.
We recap QT Marshall vs. Paul Wight. Marshall had been insulting Tony Schiavone and his family, so Wight came out to help his broadcast partner. Now it’s time for Wight’s in-ring debut.
QT Marshall vs. Paul Wight
Wight doesn’t waste time and starts in with the chops before Marshall can take his jacket off. Marshall gets in a shot to the bad hip though and a low dropkick staggers Wight. The kickout sends Marshall outside and it’s time to start panicking. Back in and the Diamond Cutter is blocked, Wight beats up the rest of the Factory and grabs the chokeslam for the pin at 3:12.
Rating: D+. That’s how it should have gone and there is nothing to complain about here. Yes the Marshall stuff over the last few weeks has been a bit lame but ultimately, Wight beat him without much effort and that is all he should have done. Wight can go back to commentary until he is needed again and Marshall can go back to….whatever it is that he does.
Jon Moxley is facing Minoru Suzuki on Dynamite in Cincinnati.
Moxley says Suzuki better be ready to come to his hometown in the Nasty Natti.
Malakai Black is ready for Dustin Rhodes on Dynamite and suggests that Rhodes think of everything he has done to Rhodes’ family and friends.
We recap Christian Cage challenging Kenny Omega for the World Title. Cage pinned him to win the Impact Wrestling World Title so now it is time to do it for the belt that really mattes. Talking heads aren’t sure who should win.
AEW World Title: Christian Cage vs. Kenny Omega
Omega, with Don Callis, is defending and Cage starts fast by knocking Omega outside. Cage whips him into the barricade and Cage hits the big dive off the top to take him out. Back up and Omega whips Cage into the steps before pulling out a table. This one is laid on top of Cage though and Omega stomps it for a break (Omega: “Did I do that???”). Cage blocks a suplex through another table and suplexes Omega onto the floor. Back in and Cage’s Cloverleaf is blocked, allowing Omega to hit something close to a Sling Blade for two.
Omega knocks him to the floor again and hits the moonsault off the barricade. Back in and Cage is in more trouble, setting up a chest first whip into the corner. A fireman’s carry backbreaker gives Omega two more but he takes too long going up, allowing Christian to grab a hurricanrana. Christian chokes on the ropes and then jumps over for the customary right hand. Omega gets in a knee to the head and drives him into the corner for some shoulders to the ribs.
Now the V Trigger can hit the back of Christian’s head in the corner. The Snapdragon brings Christian out of the corner and there’s a second to make it even worse. Cage flips him off so it’s a third Snapdragon into another V Trigger. Instead of covering, Omega tries a German suplex through a table on the floor. Since that can’t work, Christian reverses into a Killswitch attempt but has to settle for a spear through the table instead. It takes them a minute to get back in, where Christian hits a spear each to Omega’s back and ribs for two.
Christian can’t follow up and has to escape the Dr. Wiley Bomb. Omega this some knees to the face, setting up a ripcord V Trigger. A tiger driver is countered though and Christian gets the high angle Cloverleaf. Callis calls in the reinforcements with the Good Brothers but Christian fights them off. The Killswitch gives Cage two more and they’re both down. With nothing else working, Christian catches him on top and tries a super Killswitch but gets reversed into a super One Winged Angel to retain the title at 21:21.
Rating: B+. They did everything they could to get around the lack of drama and it was a very good match. The problem is I never once believed Christian had a chance and I can’t imagine I’m alone. Cage was fine for a one off challenger, but Omega is going to need a major challenger sooner than later. Like at Full Gear for example.
Post match the rest of the Elite comes in for the big beatdown, with Jurassic Express not being able to make the save. The YES chants begin but Omega grabs the mic and asks if if Chicago is finally starting to understand. Omega doesn’t care who is a hometown hero because no one is on his level. When it comes to the AEW World Title, the only people who have a chance to beat him are either not here, already tired or already dead. Then the lights go out…..and it’s Adam Cole (Bay Bay) making his debut.
Cole gets in the ring….and superkicks Jungle Boy, because Cole is with the Elite. Omega: “In the words of Steve Urkel, did I do that?” Cole asks who is ready for Story Time With Adam Cole Bay Bay. The Elite is the most dominant faction in wrestling and no one can stop them. Omega hits the catchphrase….and we have Ride of the Valkyries. Brian Danielson is here too and some of the Elite bails. Danielson, Christian and Jurassic Express stare down Omega, Cole and the Young Bucks, with Omega leaving so the good guys can clean house so YES chants can end the show. That’s a heck of a pair of surprises so yeah, they nailed it.
Overall Rating: A. Great matches, two big moments and the historic title change with the only thing resembling a bad match lasting less than 200 seconds. They did pretty much everything right here and it was a pretty awesome show as a result. This felt like the normal AEW pay per view and that is certainly a great thing to hear. Awesome show and it didn’t feel like nearly four hours so there isn’t much of anything to complain about here.
Please share this story on Facebook! Help us spread the word!
Get the LATEST RUMORS! Click to sign up for the exclusive Wrestling Rumors daily newsletter.