HomeTelevisionAEW All Out 2020 Review: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

AEW All Out 2020 Review: The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

AEW All Out 2020 took place last night on a humid Labor Day Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. Depending on who you ask the show was either an unmitigated disaster or the show was a masterpiece — so you know, wildly on brand for 2020.

And as you can probably assume, the show was definitely somewhere in the middle. It definitely had some very, very scary moments, it definitely had some bad moments, but it also had a lot of really terrific moments.

So let’s break down the good, the bad and the ugly of AEW All Out 2020.

The Ugly

Matt Hardy and Sammy Guevara: First and foremost, let’s hope Matt Hardy is okay. According to reports he does in fact have a concussion from the absolutely brutal miscue that happened during the match. [Editor’s Note: It was updated later in the day that Hardy did not have a concussion}. What should have happened was that the match should’ve been stopped and they continue on with the show. I think everyone would’ve been fine and understood that the health of the performers is of the utmost importance. However, that wasn’t the case as they went to the finish of the match, which no one cared about. It wasn’t necessary. This could’ve been delayed for however long it was needed and run back.

Instead, the match continued. Tony Khan says Matt Hardy cleared concussion protocol. And maybe he did (I’m no expert on protocol), but this is a situation where you have to think of both the wrestler and the audience. Matt should’ve been immediately taken to the hospital for evaluation. Having him climb up that structure and shove Sammy wasn’t a safe move. Things could’ve (and luckily didn’t) go sideways there. The decision to continue (which muddied the waters of whether the whole thing was part of the show or for real) took the audience both at home and in the venue out of things. Also, AEW looks real bad. For a company that prides itself on the health and safety of its performers this was a “sloppy shop” moment. I get it’s in the heat of the moment, but discretion is the better part of valor. AEW took a massive black eye from a publicity standpoint for this decision and most importantly could’ve hurt its wrestlers with this decision.

The Bad:

The Run Time: One of the big complaints about AEW is that they have so much talent and not enough time to showcase them. (Although people will complain as to why they need to watch AEW’s digital content in order to watch talent they don’t see on TV.) Tonight’s overwhelming complaint was “too much talent, too much time.” So, they’re never going to win this argument. However, All Out 2020 suffered from one too many matches on the main show. Honestly, they could’ve taken the Dark Order vs. Matt Cardona, Dustin Rhodes, QT Marshall and Scorpio Sky and moved it to the Pre-Show. I get you want the newly minted TNT Champion Mr. Brodie Lee and still highly relevant Matt Cardona on the main show — but this match was the odd man out for me. Moving this to pre-show would’ve helped the flow of the show for sure.

The Weather: This definitely was a massive hindrance for the show — and it’s been something evident on many a Dynamite this summer. Jacksonville was at some ridiculous humidity level and you could tell it not only impacted the performers but the live crowd. If you’ve ever gone to an indie show in the summer, you know how brutal shows can get with heat and humidity. Hell, if you’ve ever been to the old ECW Arena when ECW Area you would walk out drenched (I can attest to that from August 2000). You also know how that heat can take the energy out of you right quick. That definitely happened during this show and you could tell. The crowd felt absolutely dead at times.

Matt Sydal: Definitely not who I thought would be showing up as the “joker” in the Casino Battle Royale. Not sure what Sydal will add to AEW at this point in his career either. But holy smokes that missed Shooting Star Press was really, really bad. Luckily, he didn’t break his neck on the move. People will say this a moment that “took them out of the show” and while I think that’s a bit of an overreaction, it’s still a reaction people felt and that definitely hurt opinions of the show (especially since it happened after the Hardy incident).

The Good:

Hikaru Shida vs. Thunder Rosa: This match over-delivered. These two women gave what can be considered the absolute best women’s match in AEW history. The Women’s Division, which has rightfully come under (more) fire over the past few months, has been stepping up big time. The Women’s Tag Tournament was terrific. Thunder Rosa and Serena Deeb on Dynamite was excellent. This match could/should, hopefully, be a major turning point for this division. Thunder Rosa solidified herself as legitimately one of the best women in the world on this show. I don’t think anyone ever doubted how good she was, but hot damn this was a moment. I wish AEW could use her regularly because she would add so much to the company, but obviously she’s the NWA Women’s Champion. Shida was awesome here and showed she could really take the babyface champion role of taking a beatdown and making the hot comeback perfectly. Shida is the crown jewel of this division in AEW and they need to keep investing time and resources into her. Ultimately, I think it’d be smart business for AEW to send Shida to the NWA to challenge Thunder Rosa for her title if/when the NWA comes back.

FTR vs. Kenny Omega & Hangman Page: Online criticism was a bit harsh on this one … and frankly I don’t know what match they were watching. While not on the level of Hangman & Kenny vs. The Young Bucks at Full Gear (a hard feet to recreate) — this was a terrific match. This was hard-hitting, fast-paced where it needed to, it told the right story for Hangman and Kenny — and God damn, it was just a good match. I want to go back and rewatch this one for sure. The direction of where this could take Kenny Omega and Hangman Page is extremely exciting. Could they finally be pulling the (V) trigger on a full-fledged Kenny heel turn? Could this be the beginning of the run for Hangman as a top babyface? Where do The Bucks figure into all this? Are we getting that old school faction with FTR now?

Moxley and MJF Delivered: There was a lot of speculation on whether this match could deliver. Moxley in the main, with the title, has been a mixed bag. His empty arena match with Hager was “meh.” His match with Darby was strong. I’m still on the fence about him and Cage. MJF has never been on this level of match in his career yet. And yes, he’s great on the mic, but would he deliver in the ring?

They definitely delivered. Moxley used more of his rough and ready style than his plunder-a-plenty style, which heavily benefitted the match. MJF getting busted open and stepping up his intensity was a nice wrinkle to his character. He didn’t back down, he didn’t cower, he stepped up. The comeuppance of the Wardlow interference and ring toss as the finish coupled with the Paradigm Shift behind the ref’s back was a great booking decision on multiple fronts. First, it gives MJF an excuse for losing his first match. Let’s face it he didn’t lose clean, he was cheated. Second, we can run back Moxley/MJF down the road because MJF has motivation and justification to get another shot. Of course, Moxley would have no problem fighting him again. Lastly, it gives us a moment where we can see the break-up between MJF and Wardlow. This could lead to something real good as Wardlow has shown us flashes that he can go in the ring.

The Bucks vs. Jurassic Express: This match was a bit of a different Bucks match — they were the slower, more aggressive team at the outset. Since they are the older, more experience team, it makes all the sense. Jungle Boy got made to look great in the loss again. Luchasaurus continues to bounce back from his momentum-kneecapping injury from last year. Now with a more aggressive Bucks do we see them team with Kenny or does The Elite officially implode?

Thoughts on the Rest of the Show:

Joey Janela vs. Serpentico: Damn good opener. I like that Serpentico is getting time to shine as he’s a unique character and an asset to AEW. Janela needs momentum and I like his “Inner Circle I hope you’re watching” statement. He and Sonny have unfinished business with Inner Circle and I appreciate this attention to detail.

Private Party vs. John Silver & Alex Reynolds: This one was a little slow out the gates, but when they hit the second and then third gear, it was so good. Private Party had finally found their footing since returning to AEW (and have shook the rust they had at Double or Nothing off). Silver and Reynolds, man these guys have really, really upped their game. Sometimes getting the ball does that to you.

Britt Baker vs. Big Swole: Listen, I don’t love cinematic matches, but this was the right call. It protected Britt from a physical standpoint and it played up her strengths as a character big time. Swole also got to show more of her personality here and I think that’s what is really selling her to fans. We all know she’s the goods in the ring, but it’s her personality that have people on board. Reba. God bless her. She’s the ultimate slip on the banana peel side kick and plays it wonderfully.

Dark Order vs. The Nightmare Family: This went long and I’m surprised by a few things. First, not enough Scorpio Sky. Let me shout this from the rooftop, dude is an absolute star, give him the ball. Second, not a lot of Matt Cardona either. So far, he’s been limited in the ring and I feel like they need to take the gloves off. Third, big missed opportunity for Tay and Jay not to jump The Nightmare Sisters. Finally, I’m surprised Dark Order didn’t win. However, I do like what it brings us. Dustin vs. Brodie will be a sleeper of a match and makes storyline sense. The fissures in Colt’s allegiance to Dark Order is great.

The Casino Battle Royale: In the minority on this one — but I enjoyed the holy hell out of this one. This was probably the best battle royal they’ve done since the tag team one in Georgia. However, this one seemed to be more smartly booked with storylines weaving in and out of every moment. Not going to lie, seeing Will Hobbs, a regular on AEW Dark getting a big moment to shine was great. Lance Archer winning here was the right call. Eddie Kingston lasting till the end (as well as The Butcher) was the right call as well. Sonny Kiss eliminating Jake Hager was also a terrific moment as well.

Mimosa Mayhem Match: I know this was way too Sports Entertainment-y for a lot of people. And while it wasn’t close to the brilliance of the Stadium Stampede, this still was a lot of fun. Orange Cassidy is now a bona fide star. Chris Jericho was in full blown Terry Funk mode here — making people, showing his ass and still looking dangerous all at the same time. Strong feeling The Inner Circle is going to downshift and disband by year’s end with Jericho most likely touring.

Final Thoughts: All Out 2020 was a good show, not a great one. Some of the reasons were beyond AEW’s control (weather), but a lot of them were (Matt Hardy situation, flow of the show). It’s definitely worth checking out at some point if you’ve got the time.

All Elite Wrestling All Out 2020 is now streaming on BRLive.

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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