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Credit: All Elite Wrestling
AEW All Out 2020 was an important moment for All Elite Wrestling. The company is finally beginning to bring back fans, and the company needed to deliver. It was time to build off the company’s momentum to reach a climactic event no one would forget.
However, AEW did not hit the home run most expected, given the card. This was a night loaded with talent. The contests were fresh and exciting, built on some of the best performers the company has.
Did AEW lose on this night? It certainly seems fair to say it was not a win. While fan reactions to the night were divisive, certain moments stopped the energy of the show cold. The event had some good wrestling to compensate but not quite enough.
The supposed show-stealer, Hangman Adam Page and Kenny Omega vs. FTR, at least needed a few minutes cut to start and end the contest. Too much of the card came off as filler rather than genuine pay-per-view-caliber wrestling.
Matt Hardy‘s frightening injury especially cast a dark shadow over the night. Fans had no idea how to react as the company took the wrong approach on all fronts to assess a likely concussion.
Not all was lost, though. Many wrestlers performed beyond all expectations, setting them up for future success. Maxwell Jacob Friedman, Thunder Rosa and Orange Cassidy all made the most of the spotlight.
It was not the win most hoped for, but many certainly won out. AEW All Out will be looked back upon with mixed feelings, but its lasting impact could go far beyond one night.
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It may come off as odd to call Maxwell Jacob Friedman a winner after he lost the biggest match of his career, but he was made in this contest. After all the pageantry and false politics, MJF walked into the lion’s den with the most dangerous man in AEW and fought like the top guy he is meant to be.
After an incredible rivalry with Cody ended in a forgettable match at AEW Revolution, MJF was left to prove he was more than just a good promo. He put on a strong showing with Jungle Boy at AEW Double or Nothing, but it was not a main event-level performance.
His fight with Jon Moxley was not just main event-worthy for the night. It saved the show from ending on a dud. It was surprisingly excellent, driven by the physical work of both men.
The Salt of the Earth pushed through pain and injury to kick out of the AEW world champion’s best offense. He forced Moxley to go against his own word in the end. Behind the referee’s back in a match where the Paradigm Shift was banned, he had to hit his finisher to win.
It showed a level of respect from Moxley to MJF that no one could have expected. The champion acknowledged that he needed everything to defeat The Salt of the Earth. His illegal finisher sets up MJF for a future title opportunity, and it would be well deserved.
A smaller winner on the night, Lance Archer, will be the next challenger to the AEW World Championship, but it should not be long before MJF is holding the most prestigious title in the company.
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AEW made a huge mistake, and no matter what the explanation, it will take real concerted change to fix this.
Matt Hardy was likely concussed early in his match with Sammy Guevara. It was an unfortunate fall that should have ended the match. Instead, the contest was restarted, and Hardy won after knocking The Spanish God off scaffolding, crashing through a table below.
Putting a concussed wrestler in that position is reprehensible. It shows a complete misunderstanding of how to deal with concussions. The Man Who Will Not Die was rushed to the hospital afterward, but that should not have come after finishing the match.
There is a chance that this was all an act. If it was, the story makes little sense. The clearest explanation is that Hardy was not physically able to perform when he was approved to continue wrestling.
AEW’s image will take a hit from this move. Hopefully, Hardy is fine and recovers quickly. It would have been easy to simply rule the match a no-contest or even give Guevara the victory. Either would have set up a rematch for a later date.
The best that can be hoped for is foresight for the future. AEW must be proactive, ready to call an audible to protect the talent.
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Thunder Rosa showed that she is not just one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world today, but also the likely face of AEW’s women’s division down the line. This is assuming Rosa can be wrestled away from NWA, where she is currently the women’s champion.
The fresh challenger walked in with hype and overdelivered. Her match with Hikaru Shida may be the best women’s match AEW has ever produced. It was an incredible technical and physical showcase. The AEW women’s champion took a beating and barely survived.
This was a fantastic showcase of arguably the two best women AEW can rely on going forward. Rosa may not be signed yet, but her stock is rising by the day. She leads NWA currently, but AEW gives her a wider audience and potentially a much higher pay grade.
The NWA women’s champion absolutely nailed her match with Serena Deeb on AEW Dynamite, and this was better. It was an excellent showcase of top talent.
AEW needed the best women possible. The division requires Rosa. Until she signs, the division will be one woman short of true recognition, even after Riho returns. The NWA women’s champion has earned a massive raise.
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The Dark Order gained an incredible momentum when Brodie Lee won the TNT Championship. That spotlight was dimmed when Colt Cabana made a mistake against Dustin Rhodes. The newest member got rolled up, costing his team a vital victory.
It is too early for Dark Order to lose. The group completed its rebuild, becoming the most fearsome stable in WWE. This changed instantly after one PPV. This timing undercuts the threat The Dark Order poses to the future of AEW.
Cabana has always been developed as a guy who cannot catch a break. The Dark Order gave him that will. Instead of letting him be the missing link, he fell short. This protects Lee, but it does not protect the group.
Dustin will get a title shot on AEW Dynamite. which will be the chance for the stable to regain control. The Exalted One will win. It is too early in his run. He just deserved more of a true spotlight.
QT Marshall, Scorpio Sky and Matt Cardona were mostly distractions. None of them needed the victory. It is great to see Dustin in title contention, but even he could have lost without worry. The Dark Order could not afford a loss at the most important time.
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Orange Cassidy did the unthinkable. He pulled off a victory on PPV against one of the biggest stars to ever perform. Chris Jericho has begun to push the future of the business, and it starts with Cassidy.
This was an unforgettable moment. La Champion is not too far removed from his AEW World Championship reign. He was briefly built for a rivalry with Mike Tyson. Jericho is still as big as he has ever been.
Even if this gimmick match was odd and led to a finish that was less conclusive, the overall focus was clear. Cassidy has been established as a future champion. The ridiculous slacker showed just how much he can do with no restrictions.
At the end of the night, a few key stars stood out as future title contenders. Despite not actually earning a title opportunity, Cassidy has to be in line for a future opportunity. No one defeats Jericho and just goes back to lounging around.
That fate for Cassidy may be teased, but ultimately he has proved his gimmick is more than a comedy act. He is one of AEW’s biggest stars. He just needs the gold to solidify that reality.