HomeWrestlingAEW Fyter Fest - What Worked, What Didn't

AEW Fyter Fest – What Worked, What Didn’t

Fyter Fest

Fyter Fest, All Elite Wrestling’s second show ever, is in the books. While it was nowhere near the spectacle of Double or Nothing — it was a definitely a show where a lot of the weaknesses of that initial show were improved upon — while also being a hell of an entertaining show.

Was it without issue? Oh, there were a number of issues at this show. From production to creative to “the chair shot” there were a number of things that did not work.

The Chair Shot

When this is the first thing we have to discuss about Fyter Fest, you now this did not work. Let me break this down from an emotional, non-journalistic perspective, and the best journalistic perspective I can.

Emotional Thought: Pardon my language, but this was fucking stupid. Listen, I was a diehard ECW fan, and like many people who were, I loved chair shots. However, like many, once I learned of the real world ramifications of this — I have never needed to see an unprotected chair shot to the head again. Yes, even when I saw Masato Tanaka do the spot six months ago live, I couldn’t watch.

And look what happened once this moment happened? Nothing else mattered on Fyter Fest in terms of the public spotlight. Darby Allin’s excellent effort was washed away. Shawn Spears’ motivation for attacking Cody was ignored. It was all “How stupid is AEW for allowing that?” That’s a bad business decision.

I get the chair was “gimmicked” but again, you don’t need it. Have him attack Cody literally any other way possible, and then sell the feud in the promos.  This was just dumb.

Journalistic Thought: I understand “the theory” behind all this. Use a taboo move to get over the heel, and make things personal. It’s so “shocking” and “dastardly.” But…obviously, this didn’t work. You erased a good story, and does anyone remember anything about Spears hitting Cody? Nope, it’s the moment and the decision to make that moment happen. Even if the chair was gimmicked, the it’s not an easy spot to execute and we saw what happened — Cody was busted open. Hopefully, AEW learns from this and doesn’t ever do this again.

What Worked

The Commentary: What a difference a month makes. The addition of Goldenboy — an e-sports and Titan Games commentator — made a world of difference. He did an excellent job, and his knowledge and announcing skill really brought a new dynamic to the booth. Jim Ross was infinitely better tonight than at Double or Nothing. The elder statesmen role fit JR, and he really punctuated situations with his knowledge of wrestling, and his patented passionate approach. Excalibur was a bit of the odd man out here. He had moments to shine, but Goldenboy and Ross were really in the spotlight here.

The Little Things: Sometimes the little things make all the difference and they made a difference at Fyter Fest.

Referees have names. There’s time limit announcements. Working a body part was part of the story within a match. There were simple motivations for wrestlers who were in a match. Matches building multiple future storylines. These are things I like about wrestling. Wins and losses seemed to be matter to the wrestlers.

What Didn’t

Most of the Pre-Show: The Dark Order needs to debut in-ring because this angle is not working. It’s crickets when their promo comes on. No one reacts when the minions show up. Evil Uno and Stu Grayson  can go in the ring, and I feel like once they step in the ring all the negativity will be dispelled.

The Librarians is not working at all. No one cares. Literally someone screamed “this gimmick sucks” audibly when Avalon and Bates entered the ring. Leva Bates and Allie did not work well for about 90% of the match. Something’s got to change here.

Alex Jebailey vs. Michael Nakazawa was what you’d expect. And I don’t need to see it again.

Production Woes: The production team is still missing big time shots. The music still does not sound great when wrestlers come out — it’s either way too soft or way too loud. There was a lot of noise like someone’s mic was rubbing against their jacket on commentary. Fyter Fest  was definitely better than Double or Nothing, but they have to tighten things up.

Match Thoughts:

Private Party vs. SCU vs. Best Friends: This was a HOT way to start the show. This basically like taking some pre-workout. It was a caffeine-fueled three way that saw these teams going all out in order to gain that opportunity for the first round bye for the tag title tournament. That should’ve been hammered home more. The match did a great job showcasing Private Party, and the crowd got behind them quickly. The story of Private Party being too cocky, or too young to full capitalize on their momentum was interesting. I dig the win here by Chuck and Trent. SCU would’ve been predictable.

Allie vs. Leva Bates: This wasn’t hyped at all really. And it didn’t really connect. The Librarian gimmick with Bates isn’t working. This never got out of first gear. Allie winning makes the most sense given she’s got Brandi in two weeks, and we’re already teasing dissension between Bates and Avalon.

Jebailey vs. Michael Nakazawa: Yeah, this was what you’d expect. A goofy gaga match that popped the gamer community, and not the wrestling fan. I don’t need to see matches like this in AEW going forward.

CIMA vs. Christopher Daniels: Really dug the story here. Two former stablemates battling it out for two very different reasons. CIMA is trying to “make his mark” in the U.S. and gain momentum for his match with Kenny Omega in two weeks. Daniels, as seen on Road to Fyter, is trying to show he’s still got it as a singles wrestler. This was a solid opener, good action, and was the right match to kick things off with. Good energy, good pacing, exciting.

Yuka Sakazaki vs. Riho vs. Nyla Rose: When they started, AEW said they want their women’s division to be as special as WCW’s cruiserweight division in the 90s. While we’re only two shows in, we can see the groundwork for this mission statement being laid. While the opener shook off some of the malaise off the show, this match kicked the match into high gear. Despite eating the loss, Nyla Rose looked great. The King Kong flying knee drop by Nyla was absolutely bonkers. Yuka and Riho worked hard here. While it was always the smoothest match, these three had terrific chemistry and produced a match that continues to cement what looks to be potentially strong women’s division.

MJF vs. Jungle Boy vs. Adam Page vs. Jimmy Havoc: This match accomplished a number of things. First, it reminded everyone that MJF is the future of AEW. Second, it made Jungle Boy an absolute star. Third, it reminded everyone that Adam Page is the goods. Fourth, it showed Jimmy Havoc doesn’t need a staple gun to hang in a match. Finally, it reminded us Page’s leg injury is going to be carried into the All Out Title match, and that’s how he’s going to lose to Jericho. This four-way was fun as hell.

Cody vs. Darby Allin: Let’s move passed the chair shot. This was a clash of styles that worked wonderfully. Cody did a great job playing the bigger, cockier heel, while Allin played the never-say-die, always-in-peril face. I liked the small things in this match — Cody’s looks of disbelief and exasperation at not being able to put away Allin. Allin working over Cody’s hand as well as his unique offense that seemed to be based on last gasp momentum he got from capitalizing off a Cody mistake. The time limit draw was the perfect finish. It kept Cody strong, but his arrogance was his downfall. It made Darby Allin look like a seemingly unbeatable wildman that the crowd got behind. It also enforced that draws can be a thing, and that wins and losses do matter here.

The Young Bucks & Kenny Omega vs. The Lucha Bros & Laredo Kid: The Street Fighter entrance from The Elite was pretty rad. This match was exactly what you’d expect from these six. It was 100mph high spots that defied physics and logic. Laredo Kid really got the light shone on him, and he deserves it. Dude kills it everywhere he goes, and deserves to be placed on a national stage. It felt like Fenix was held back for the majority of this match, luckily he got his spots in the end. This match was so much fun to watch, but I think we need a pause on the Bucks/Lucha Bros. feud.

Jon Moxley vs. Joey Janela: I thought they could’ve done a little bit more to make this feel “unsanctioned.” Maybe taking the AEW logo off the mic. The announcers taking off their AEW jackets. The AEW logo being covered up on the ring apron. No theme music. Just a touch more. However, I liked they said this match would not count against either man’s record.

The match…oh boy…this match. It was absolutely wild. It definitely started a little slow, and it did feel a little WWE hardcore match circa Attitude Era in the beginning, but then it got nuts. Barbed wire chairs, barbed wire boards, hundreds of tacks, ladders, tables, and just pure insanity. This was an ECW style brawl that not only showed that Mox is the real deal (and not a WWE guy mailing it in for a check), but that Janela is a main event dude.

AEW Fyter Fest can be viewed for free on Bleacher Report Live. Click here to stream.

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.


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