HomeTelevisionAEW Fight for the Fallen Review: What Worked, What Didn't

AEW Fight for the Fallen Review: What Worked, What Didn’t

AEW Fight for the Fallen
Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling

All Elite Wrestling’s third show, Fight for the Fallen, is in the books. This show was announced during AEW’s first press conference, and it’s pretty awesome that they were able to raise roughly $150,000 to support Jacksonville’s Victim Assistance Advisory Council. Listen, I know we’re supposed to be impartial, but any time a company can do something like this they need to be applauded.

Fight for the Fallen was a pivotal show for AEW. This was the quickest turnaround they had between shows — just about two weeks. Could they successfully build up matches to get people interested? Could they work out all the kinks on the production end that hindered Double or Nothing? Could they improve upon the much-maligned “Buy In” Show from Fyter Fest? How would the commentary team fair after not working together at Fyter?

Here’s what worked, what didn’t, and a look at the matches themselves.

What Didn’t Work

The Commentary: Oh boy. This was easily the worst part of the show. At times things worked fine, but more often than not the wheels came off this three-man booth.

Excalibur, who’s usually the glue of the team, seemed off. And you know what? That’s going to happen from time to time. Every announcer has an off show, and given his long track record of excellence for multiple companies, I’m not worried about him going forward.

Alex Marvez, however, makes me worry. When Goldenboy was in the booth two weeks ago, not only was he individually terrific, but everyone on commentary really gelled with him and as a unit. Marvez’s return was mired with bad timing, awkwardness, and moments that brought things to a screeching halt. Honestly, outside of a few eye-rolling jokes, what Marvez says is absolutely fine. He has really good information (that helps the story of the match, and AEW’s agenda of making the company feel more sport oriented. However, his timing, and the literal timbre of his voice just doesn’t work with JR and Excalibur. They NEED to figure out how to make him work — whether it’s in the booth or a cutaway to bring up certain facts like FOX does with Jay Glazer as JR has said numerous times.

Speaking of JR, this was not his night either. He voiced his discontentment for certain moves, the referees, and wrestler’s logic once too often. I religiously listen to his Grillin’ JR podcast, and to me it seems like he’s not following his own advice. His commentary at Fight for the Fallen wasn’t helping get talent over, it felt like it was pushing his own philosophies on wrestling. And that hurt the show.

Questionable Refereeing: This was not a night for the zebras. First, referee Mike Posey (who I guess is with AEW now?) literally sees Marko Stunt (who I guess is with AEW now?) give Angelico a hurricanrana off the top. How is the team Marko is seconding (Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy) not disqualified? He just ejects Marko? That’s a bad look especially for a company that emphasizes rules, and logic. Then, there were multiple, “seriously ref, we’re allowing this?” moments in the main event with The Bucks and The Brotherhood. That definitely took away from the match (which went long as it was).

What Worked

Star Building: In a recent interview Dave Bautista said that AEW wasn’t real competition for WWE until they started creating stars. Our Lord and Savior Big Dave is not wrong in his statement. Yet, at Fight for the Fallen, it seems like All Elite Wrestling has at least two big fan favorites on their hands in Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy. The crowd was losing their minds for literally everything these two did. These two guys are marketable as hell, and I think big things are in store for both these guys. AEW also did a really nice job, nearly in every match, of working to establish every wrestler with the audience. Sonny Kiss was given a big entrance. Sammy Guevara was given time to shine. Darby Alin seems to be beloved by the crowd. CIMA looked great. I’m excited to see what the future holds for a lot of these “lesser known” guys.

Production: Outside of that wonky closed captioning snafu on B/R Live, the show went off without a hitch. Shots weren’t missed. The right theme songs were played. No audio difficulties. Everything ran smoothly outside of the awkwardness of the post-main event. The venue was terrific, and the way AEW shot and staged everything was great. It felt different not just from any other wrestling company, but from previous AEW shows as well. It felt like an event. That’s a big issue I have with WWE. Everything, outside of Wrestlemania and Royal Rumble, feels the same. Extreme Rules looked and felt like a Monday Night RAW.

The elevated ramp was also a great weapon throughout the night. I dug the outdoor aspect of things, although you could tell it impacted some of the in-ring. Regardless, I have a lot of confidence that AEW is going to be a well-oiled machine coming into TV this fall.

The Matches

“The Librarian” Peter Avalon w/”The Librarian” Leva Bates vs. “The Concrete Rose” Sonny Kiss: This was a strong, effective opener. The Librarian gimmick was a massive dud last show, but if anyone get this over it’s Peter Avalon. Having watched a lot of his work in Bar Wrestling recently, I have a lot of confidence in him. My own minor complaint — he needs to not use the Ric Flair-esque robe as The Librarian. Sonny Kiss’ entrance with the Jaguars’ cheerleaders, might be silly to some, but I thought this gave him a more big-time feel. Sonny was really impressive in the ring, as his flexibility and agility is something to marvel at. Sonny picking up the win was the right move here.  This match helped Sonny look like a top name in AEW, and Avalon effectively got the crowd to dislike The Librarian, and not hate it.

Britt Baker & Riho vs. Shoko Nakajima & Bea Priestly: This should’ve been on the main show, especially since Bea’s signing was made known back in the winter. Regardless, this was a really strong match, especially given the fact Britt Baker got concussed in it.  Priestly came off like a massive star, and the crowd was into her. AEW gets a lot of criticism for not introducing their audience to certain talents, and this is completely fair, but for someone who barely wrestles in the U.S., Priestly was definitely a known, and anticipated commodity. This match definitely wasn’t the smoothest, and again I contribute this the concussion, but it was high energy, hard-hitting, and damn good. Be excited for AEW’s Women’s Division.


Joey Janela, Jimmy Havoc & Darby Allin vs. Shawn Spears, MJF & Sammy Guevara: Loved this match. Besides being really well-wrestled, it accomplished a number of things. It showed Jimmy Havoc and Joey Janela aren’t just death match guys, they can wrestle. It got over Shawn Spears as a major heel. It showed complexity to MJF’s character. It proved Darby Allin is a big time crowd favorite. And Sammy Guevara showed he’s more than the “That Sammy G’s a nice guy” bit on Being the Elite. It also gave us some potential feuds here — Havoc vs. Allin, Allin vs. Spears, Spears vs. MJF, MJF vs. Janela, Sammy vs. Janela. This was a red hot opener to the main show, and the heels winning was the right call.

Brandi Rhodes vs. Allie: Easily the worst match on the card. It’s also the second show in a row that Allie has been on a less-than-positively received match. The return of Awesome Kong was good for an initial pop, but it didn’t seem to make sense. It would’ve made more sense for her to come out, and while Brandi distracted the ref to destroy Allie. Instead she lingered around ringside, and then tripped Allie. Brandi was definitely rusty here, and these two just did not gel in the ring. Luckily, this all lead to Aja Kong coming out and squaring off with Awesome Kong. I’m hoping we get this at All Out. Some people are bemoaning it, but listen if this is a 5-7 dream match, I’m good with it. I feel like with more time in ring Brandi will be a lot better, and since she’s more of the more compelling people on the mic in the company, they definitely need her to be better in the ring.

Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus w/Marko Stunt vs. The Dark Order w/The Creepers vs. Angelico & Jack Evans: The Dark Order needed to not only win this match, but look good in it. They have been one of the worst parts of the AEW shows so far, as the audience does not connect with them. By end of the match, they definitely proved their salt as a tag team, and the crowd seemed to accept them. You know the who crowd did accept? A Boy and His Dinosaur! The crowd’s reactions for them made it seem like they were the second coming of The Road Warriors. You could tell the duo fed off the crowd’s energy, and they pulled out some batshit ridiculous spots. As for Evans and Angelico, they didn’t get as many spots, but I have little doubt they won’t be doing more damage in shows to come.


“Hangman” Adam Page vs. “Super Bad” Kip Sabian: This match had the distinct displeasure of following that red hot three-way. This was definitely a slower-paced, NWA style match with modern flourishes. The story was Sabian would not be considered an afterthought and refused to give up while Page’s injured knee kept slowing him down. A lot of people made a big deal out of the crowd not being behind Hangman. Listen, the Jacksonville crowd spoke and they weren’t behind him. But, the crowds in Vegas, Daytona and at All In last year were behind him, as were crowds in Japan, and Ring of Honor. If the crowd dumps on him in Chicago this time, then it’s time to worry. This match didn’t do much for either guy, but it didn’t hurt them either.

SCU vs. The Lucha Bros: The heat seemed to really effect the luchadors as they were a bit off. I think once they got acclimated to the weather, the two teams made it work, and delivered a good, but not great tag team match. Post-Match, Penta and Fenix challenged The Bucks of Youth to a ladder match at All Out. This has to be for a bye in the Tag Team Tournament.

Kenny Omega vs. CIMA: This match outperformed all expectations. On paper, I looked at this as a “nice match” that would give Kenny a win and a warm-up for All Out. Instead, we got an all out war between these two. CIMA’s knees must be absolutely wrecked after the number of Meteoras he gave Kenny. This may be a bit of a hot take, but this is probably one of the better Kenny Omega singles matches I’ve seen him from him in quite some time. He seemed to have more fire, more velocity, and more intensity in the ring. I’m not sure how this match will benefit CIMA in the long-term, but if booked right, he could definitely use this as momentum.


The Young Bucks vs. The Brotherhood: First things first. This match went too long. You probably could’ve shaved off about 5 minutes or more off the match and it would’ve been better. With that said, this was still a really good match. One thing I appreciate about Cody Rhodes’ AEW run is that there’s psychology and emotion woven into his matches. I liked the professional rivalry that turned heated in this match. I thought Dustin Rhodes looked terrific here. The Bucks showed they aren’t just all run and gun, 100 mph spot guys, like some have criticized them of being. They slowed it down, a story was told.

You can steam AEW Fight for the Fallen on Bleacher Report Live.


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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