All Elite Wrestling’s “Fyter Fest” Review

Following the massive success of Double or Nothing, the first televised AEW PPV, the company decided to do something a bit different. In a mocking jab at the failed Fyter Fest, the company teamed up with CEO Gaming to give US audiences a free show. The rest of us had to pay a fee to watch but it was hopefully worth it. The card looked stacked, from the pre-show to the main event, and it was hard not to be a little hyped to see if AEW could keep the momentum going. This time we had Darby Allin in the mix, Jon Moxley’s debut match and Jimmy Havoc in a four-way match alongside MJF, Jungle Boy and Hangman Page. Let’s get into it, shall we?

Buy In: Best Friends defeated SCU and Private Party via Strong Zero to Isiah Cassidy

This is how you start a show. You put three amazing tag teams in the ring and tell them to fight it out for a big prize. These guys gave it all for a pre-show match. There were tag team moves galore as Private Party, who were the relative unknowns in this match, showcased extreme feats of athleticism and heart. They seemed to be the people who would come back from the brink only to be kicked back down again.

Best Friends got the win and got their hug as well as a bunch of amazing tag moves of their own. SCU needed no introduction or fanfare as they have been dependable for years. They continued to do what they do best, pull off awesome tag team moves and show off their ring IQ. Everyone had at least one fun spot in the match and Private Party really got to show off. If you didn’t know who they were before this match, you definitely did now. The potential is borderline unlimited for them.

It should also be noted that after the match, the Dark Order once again decided to make their presence known. They have picked the Best Friends as their first victims and sent a horde of minions to leave a message. They stared at them in silence, surrounding the ring before disappearing once again once the lights went out.

Buy In: Allie defeated “The Librarian” Leva Bates /w Peter Avalon via BSE (Best Superkick Ever)

The second pre-show match saw Leva Bates chide the crowd for not reading enough and had Peter Avalon backing her as a hype man. After that, we got a slow-paced match that had its moments but never felt as exciting as the match before. There were some strong technical spots and interesting heel work but it never kicked into top gear. There were some really decent in-jokes throughout though as RAW was mocked through the Librarian character, jabs at WWE production and the failed use of a Pedigree. This at least added an extra layer of depth to a relatively shallow heel vs face match. A failed object passing cost Bates the match as Allie intercepted and superkicked her teeth out. It was okay but nothing special, which is a shame given that it’s the first women’s singles match of AEW.

Buy In: Michael Nakazawa defeats Jebailey of CEO via Thong Assisted Roll Up

This probably turned a lot of people off, I was not one of those people. This match was pure dumb fun. It was a gaming-themed death match that saw Jebailey fighting with his injury and using all the toys to get an advantage. He attacked Nakazawa with a fight stick, drowned him in the pool and got some damage in with keyboard buttons. Unfortunately, Nakazawa would take the ref out with his thong costing Jebailey the match. Instead, that sweaty bit of underwear was rammed into the face of Jebailey as his pinfall was reversed. There were some awfully painful and awfully gross spots in this match but it was all fun and totally worth sitting through. It may have soured some people but it was a silly little way to end the Buy In.

CIMA defeated Christopher Daniels via Top Rope Meteora

Fyter Fest opened up the same way Double or Nothing did, by giving us another interaction between CIMA of Strong Hearts and Christopher Daniels of SCU. CIMA needed momentum going on from this match as he takes on Kenny Omega at Fight for the Fallen. Things started CIMA’s way but soon disintegrated as a Tilt a Whirl Backbreaker halted his momentum and allowed Daniels to work over the back of CIMA. We saw a slew of attacks to the back including Daniels transitioning an Arabian Moonsault into a Crossface. It was a whole lot of fun from two veterans of the industry. It was exactly what the show needed to start, a fast and professional bout. There may not be a lot to say but then again there didn’t need to be, these two know how to work and work well.

Riho defeats Yuka Sakazaki & Nyla Rose via Jack Knife Pin to Rose

Holy hell this was absolutely awesome. All three women killed it as the match started with the two Joshi stars teaming up to try and take on Nyla Rose and failing to counter the power of Rose. She dominated the early match until Sakazaki was able to take out Rose with a Hurricanrana. From there we got a mix of battling between Riho and Yuka, some amazing flying strikes and power moves from Nyla and the ending crafty pin from Riho. It’s hard to pick a star of this match as everyone shone. Yuka is a clear favourite as her character, attire and energy just make her generally endearing but Rose proved to be a total brute with speed and power and the best flying knee to boot. Riho was the dark horse and won through survivability and craftiness. Her pinfall angered Nyla and Yuka had to try and save her from the inevitable Rose post bell attack. Riho wasn’t thrilled at this and refused to be friendly with Yuka. This is a must-watch match from the card and really kicked the women’s division into another gear.

Hangman Page defeated MJF, Jungle Boy and Jimmy Havoc via Dead Eye to Havoc

The highlight of this match came before the match even started. They played it smart by giving MJF a mic and gave him the free reign to insult the crowd. From that, he was cheered every time he was hurt. There was plenty to enjoy here as Jungle Boy became the MVP for sheer badass moves that could have ended badly. Havoc was on fire ruining everyone’s fun with strikes and even took Jungle Boy out by throwing him into Luchasaurus. All four men were stars in some regard but Page got the win by hitting Havoc with a Buck Shot Lariat and knocking MJF out of the ring to finish the job. Jungle Boy and MJF looked more like stars than the winner but that’s completely fine. This show has done wonders at building stars and only further did that with this match. Havoc may have taken the L in the match but he didn’t look weak for it, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, taking a Lariat intended for MJF. Once again, a lot of chaotic fun from a multi-person match.

Cody vs Darby Allin Went to Time Limit Draw

This again is going to divide some people. Darby Allin is a master of in-ring antics be them physical or mental and that was on display here. He started by out wrestling Cody to the point of annoyance and Cody snapped. From there he physically beat the hell out of Allin until he smashed his left hand into the turnbuckle. Allin would use this to his advantage and mangle that hand and arm. Any chance he got to attack that arm, he would take. The problem was Cody was in control for way too long so the crowd got quiet and uncaring. However, the Coffin Drop missing and smashing Allin back first into the apron brought them back to life. This was perfect for showing off how good Allin is at taking a beating and getting back up. He is an apathetic monster who will do anything to win, unless the time runs out, he misses or ends up in a body bag. The match went to a draw with Cody hitting the Cross Roads in the last 10 seconds. He begged the ref for more time but couldn’t use the extension as Shawn Spears brained him in the head with one of the most brutal unprotected chair shots to the head to happen on a televised product. He was left bleeding and broken whilst Allin scampered away waiting for his next chance to fight. Spears’ motivation is unknown right now but his actions may have put Cody’s Fight for the Fallen plans in jeopardy.

Young Bucks & Kenny Omega defeated The Lucha Bros & Laredo Kid via One-Winged Angel to Laredo Kid

Every card needs a spot fest and oh boy did this match deliver that. We had bodies flying everywhere, indie spots, Destroyers, Tope Suicidas, Spanish Flies and more as the tag team rule book went out of the window as all 6 men were too busy attacking each other to care. It was madness that would require a full novel to list the spots in. Instead, I’ll comment on the Street Fighter inspired outfits that saw Matt and Nick Jackson as Ryu and Ken and Kenny Omega taking the big bad spot as Akuma. This gaming attire went over exceptionally well with the gaming crowd of Fyter Fest. Everyone excelled and Laredo Kid got to show off some of his trademark offence fans around the world have seen him pull off. Honestly, it wasn’t the best match of the night but you have to watch it just to see the stuff that happened, the Twitter gifs will not do it justice.

Non-Sanctioned Match: Jon Moxley defeated Joey Janela via Paradigm Shift

Everyone knew this was going to get violent. You put two combustible elements in a match with no rules and a ring hiding a bunch of weaponry you are almost certain to get something nearing deathmatch levels. Moxley and Janela went at each other with reckless abandon, breaking each other with tables, barbed wire boards and chairs and finishing up with thumbtacks. Moxley added an extra level of savagery by removing Janela’s shoes and slamming him feet first into a sea of tacks.

Janela kept putting Moxley through tables and continued to be defiant in the face of the big merciless brute he was fighting. It was everything you could want it to be and more, as Janela seemed to suffer continuously from barbed wire and thumbtacks. It was a violent affair that officially AEW had nothing to do with.

The action continued after the match as Omega attacked Moxley as he was leaving the ring. He hit Moxley with a Piledriver through a table and issued a Double Stomp to the outside. After that Omega just kept hitting Moxley with as many items as he could find be them drum sticks, mic stands, guitars or trash cans. The show ended with a wounded Moxley smiling manically into the camera since Omega had attacked him.

So, there you have it, another strong showing from AEW. Their second show was just as good as the first with more high-quality matches featuring high-quality talent. Once again, the diverse range of matches will offer something for everyone. There were certainly a few more stories going into this show and that also aided the show as it felt like there were real stakes. Plus, there were spot fests and hard-core matches to keep viewers happy. Whilst many will be unhappy with the post-CTE chair shot to the head, it was a minor blip on a solid show. AEW have another show in two weeks that should hopefully be as good as this one. It sucks that it wasn’t free for anyone outside the US but I’d say it was definitely worth the viewing fee.

(All images courtesy of ITV Wrestling, TNT Drama and B/R Live Twitter accounts, and Bradley Tiernan)

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