wrestling / TV Reports

Pantoja’s AEW All Out 2023 Review

September 4, 2023 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
AEW All Out Jon Moxley Orange Cassidy Image Credit: AEW
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Pantoja’s AEW All Out 2023 Review  

AEW All Out

September 3rd, 2023 | United Center in Chicago, Illinois

Heard good things about this show so I decided to give it a shot. Don’t have time to review it all so I’ll just give ratings for the Pre-Show.

Battle Royal – **¼

Six woman tag – **½

Trios Titles – **

ROH Tag Team Championship: Better Than You Bay Bay [c] vs. The Dark Order

This was an interestingly laid out match. The crowd was red hot for the champs with “double clothesline” chants but then just when MJF was getting going, an injury flared up and he was taken to the back. The “single clothesline” chants for Cole were great. That gave us Cole working against Dark Order as a solo act and that’s not a trope I like in wrestling. Handicap matches typically don’t work so I wasn’t feeling that part and I kind of just want to like Dark Order rather than to boo them. MJF eventually returned like a hero, while still selling the neck, and got the hot tag. He went on a big run and hit the KANGAROO KICK before the duo retained with the double clothesline in 14:03. A bit longer than it needed to be but it accomplished what it needed to and builds the Cole/MJF angle. [***]

As Samoa Joe was coming out for the next match, he shoved MJF in a callback to their viral NXT moment. That caused a hurt Max to chase him to the ring for a brawl that Joe found pretty amusing as security broke it up.

ROH Television Championship: Samoa Joe [c] vs. Shane Taylor

One of two matches tonight that feature the Big E special: BIG MEATY MEN SLAPPING MEAT. This title kind of means nothing as Joe has held it for over a year but hasn’t really done anything of note with it. Taylor earned this shot but never felt like a true threat. They traded blows for a bit and Taylor talked some trash before Joe started in with his signature stuff like the elbow suicida. I liked Taylor’s jawbreaker from the ropes but that was his best shot before Joe choked him out in 6:23. That was an inoffensive match. [**¼]

AEW TNT Championship: Luchasaurus [c] vs. Darby Allin

Speaking of titles that mean absolutely nothing. Christian is the only thing about it that I’m interested in. However, these are two good wrestlers so of course they had a good match. The layout was obvious here as Darby played David and Luchasaurus played Goliath. I’ve always said that’s a formula that works for me when done well. That especially works when you have someone like Darby who is willing to bump and take a beating that makes the big man look even more brutal. Just a few minutes in and Darby was busted open before Luchasaurus trapped him under the 500 pound steel steps and stood on them. They let the beating go on for a while before Darby made the comeback, which was again, well done. I liked the desperation he showed doing things like biting the champion’s hand before hitting an avalanche Code Red. With Darby on the verge of winning, Christian hit Nick Wayne with a chair and threatened more if Darby didn’t stop. Darby hesitated, allowing Luchasaurus to strike with a Tombstone. He stood up to fling Darby into the corner and win with a lariat to the back in 12:09. Very good midcard title match here that was done with a classic formula. [***½]

Christian Cage tried to do a con-chair-to to Darby but the locker room cleared out for the save. The crowd was hoping for and the silence when Shawn Spears was first out was deafening.

Miro vs. Powerhouse Hobbs

Match #2 of the Big E Special. TWO BIG MEN, WITH BIG CHESTS, BUMPING MEAT. They went right into slapping that meat but they’d throw in something different from time to time, like Miro hitting a very impressive standing dropkick or Hobbs busting out some suplex variations. TEAM TAZ INFLUENCE BABY. We got “slap that meat” chants. I love wrestling. The competitors obliged by throwing their bodies at each other and giving the people what they wanted. They just kept throwing bombs at each other, earning “meat forever” chants. A lot of this was simple offense like clotheslines and slams but they’d find ways to add a little something to each of them and then when they did a bigger move, it felt like it meant more. Hobbs powering up out of Game Over made for a cool spot. Miro survived the spinebuster and then countered Hobbs’ attempt at his own Game Over. Miro delivered a spinebuster of his own and then won with Game Over in 15:15. Longer than you’d expect given this type of match but they did so much with that time. Just a true heavyweight fight in the best way and one of the best examples ever of BIG MEATY MEN SLAPPING MEAT. [****¼]

Miro offered a handshake that Hobbs accepted but then Hobbs leveled him and tried choking him out. However, unfamiliar music hit and the words HOT & FLEXIBLE appeared on screen. CJ Perry walked out and hit Hobbs with a chair. Hobbs no sold it mostly but him going after CJ allowed Miro to take him out with the chair. Instead of celebrating with CJ though, Miro walked out. He did forsake everything including her.

AEW TBS Championship: Kris Statlander [c] vs. Ruby Soho

Another AEW PPV, another show with just one women’s match. Ruby Soho is the female Shinsuke Nakamura. Just loses EVERY big match. That wouldn’t be the case if they just gave her the Owen Hart tournament last year but I digress. Kris Statlander rocking a Zoolander outfit was 10/10. A lot of the early stuff here was basic from some simple exchanges inside to Kris chasing Saraya at ringside before running right into a dropkick from Ruby. From there, Ruby took control for a bit while Kris would hit a power move here or there to stay alive. Her twisting Bret’s rope powerslam was a pretty cool highlight. The same goes for Ruby’s Poison Rana. Ruby even hit No Future and Destination Unknown but still couldn’t get the three count. That woman is never going to win an important match. Saraya distracted the referee as Ruby went to use the hairspray but Toni Storm popped up from under the ring and took it from her. A confused Ruby was then beaten by Sunday Night Fever in 12:12. That was better than expected and hopefully this marks the end of the Outcasts. Toni running RIGHT BY THE REFEREE and still not being stopped was funny. [***½]

Strap Match: Bryan Danielson vs. Ricky Starks

CM Punk walked out of WWE and Bryan had an all-time run to the World Title. CM Punk’s antics kept him from an MJF program late last year and Bryan stepped in to have a fantastic match with MJF. Hell, even when Punk left ROH, Bryan became champion soon after. Punk leaves, Bryan shines and he had the chance to do it here again. Bryan came out to “The Final Countdown” and I’m all emotional. Ricky attacked before the strap was officially on and he busted Bryan open with his belt buckle. Then, from the opening bell, Ricky dominated. He choked Bryan with the strap at every turn and remained aggressive even when he stopped to showboat from time to time. When Bryan started with his own strap shots, they sounded BRUTAL and the crowd ate them up. Ricky got busted open during this section too. Down the stretch, they came face to face and just started trading shots with the strap to the face. That gave this a level of violence I hadn’t seen in this stipulation before. Bryan no sold some as he fired up and then wailed on Ricky with his own. Big Bill got involved so Steamboat (who was on commentary) pulled him off the apron and fired off right hands. Bryan survived a Spear and Ricky kicked out of a Busaiku Knee. Bryan then applied the LeBelle Lock before wrapping the strap around Ricky’s neck to choke him out and win in 16:36. Move over Savio Vega vs. Steve Austin, this is the best strap match I’ve ever seen. This was special from start to finish. I need AEW to capitalize on this because Ricky just proved (again) that he should be a top guy. Meanwhile, Bryan shows again that he’s the best to ever lace up a pair of wrestling boots. If you disagree, argue with the wall. [****¾]

Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta vs. Eddie Kingston and Katsuyori Shibata

The team of Eddie and Shibata is basically all I could want in life. The idea of this match was that Claudio wanted nothing to do with Eddie, so he either fought Shibata or let Wheeler get beaten up by both guys. It’s a classic, old concept in wrestling and that’s because it mostly works. They make the crowd wait for Eddie to get his hands on Claudio. He took some heat to set up the first hot tag to Shibata. He ran wild for a bit (including a CRUSHING strike on Wheeler that ended him) before taking a heat segment of his own to give us the real hot tag to Eddie. We finally got Eddie vs. Claudio and they spent some time just slapping each other. That was fine but my issue here was the finish as Claudio just caught Eddie with an uppercut to win in 15:26. Like, not only was that a flat finish but why are we beating Kingston so easily? This should’ve just been Eddie beating Claudio for the ROH Title but they’ll likely continue to drag that out longer than they should. [***¼]

Kenny Omega vs. Konosuke Takeshita

Commentary harped on how Don Callis has given Takeshita every bit of advice/information on Kenny possible and that played into the match. Takeshita destroyed Omega with a back suplex in a terrifying bump. Seriously, Kenny has taken some awful neck bumps in the past few months. For the most part, Takeshita held serve after that and it all looked so good. Like his tope suicida to a downed Omega looked effortless. He made sure to stop and mock Omega before hitting things like a Blue Thunder Bomb, while also getting help from Don Callis from time to time. When Takeshita missed a jumping knee and fell outside, Omega was able to turn the tide with the Terminator tope. I do wish the camera angle was different as we could clearly see Takeshita up with more than enough time to avoid the move. Then it was time to start trading the big shots from snap dragon suplexes to ridiculous knee strikes to Takeshita turning Kenny inside out with a huge lariat. I loved how when Kenny had Takeshita reeling, he picked up the pace. It’s a small thing but it makes sense and matters in a match like this. I really liked the finish here as two attempts to use the screwdriver as a weapon failed and led to some close calls before Takeshita got the huge win on a knee strike after removing his knee pad. This went 22:29 and was just straightforward fantastic pro wrestling. I am so ready for the rematch whenever we get it. [****½]

Bullet Club Gold vs. FTR and The Young Bucks

The Bullet Club Gold entrance goes HARD. I said it when Phil got fired but they need to make Collision the Jay White show. The crowd finally got to give the negative reaction they’d been itching for, booing the hell out of the Bucks and chanting for Philly Phil. The first half or so of this match was standard multi-man stuff. We got trade-offs of solid interactions, renewing the Jay & Juice/FTR classics from earlier this year, and saw some uneasy stuff between FTR and the Bucks. In fact, that was the main story as the feuding teams just couldn’t work well together. Of course, this ultimately broke down into a Young Bucks special as we had tons of moving parts, people coming in and out, and a barrage of wild action. They flubbed a few spots but some of the stuff these teams were pulling off together were so much fun. I loved the callback to the superplex and splash spots that we got in the FTR/BCG matches. The Bucks and FTR started working better as a team late, adding to the fun of the match. In the end, White hit Cash with Blade Runner and Colton got the pin in 21:39. Just an absolute blast of a match. [***¾]

AEW International Championship: Orange Cassidy [c] vs. Jon Moxley

In a shocker, Moxley wasn’t the first guy to bleed in a match. He sent OC into the ring post outside after a few minutes and OC was busted out, which Moxley then used as a target as he even bit at the wound. Moxley beat the hell out of him from there with crossface punches, Gotch piledrivers, and his Bulldog Choke. OC couldn’t get anything going as even his Orange Punch was less effective due to the injured hand he’s been dealing with for months. Moxley pulled up the mats outside to expose the concrete and that’s such an old school spot that I’ve always liked. It backfired and he took Beach Break there, swinging the momentum a bit in favor of OC. From there, Cassidy threw whatever he could at Moxley but it seemed like it would never be enough. That’s not a story you get often. Just a fighting champion giving his all but finally meeting his match after months of taking abuse in successful defenses. Moxley hit Death Rider and OC got a shoulder up almost out of instinct. Moxley seemed at a loss for what to do but OC flipped him off defiantly once more and Moxley ended his reign with a high angle Death Rider in 19:43. I loved the story of OC going out on his shield and taking it to the top guy in the company only to just not quite have it all. I do wish OC got a successful defense or two against a main eventer instead of losing the first he faced but still. [****½]

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
One of my favorite things in wrestling is when a lackluster card overdelivers and we get a great show out of it. That was the case here as the roster did what they could to overshadow Phil’s drama and put on one of the best shows of the year.

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AEW All Out, Kevin Pantoja