Around the Loop: AEW Preview – All In For ‘All Out’

Are you sick of me writing about AEW yet? Well, buckle up for more, nerds, because this Saturday, August 31, All Elite Wrestling will present it’s third official pay-per-view event. Marking the anniversary of its unofficial debut, All In, All Out is live from Chicago’s Sears Centre and sold out within minutes. Like all these early shows for AEW, this event will be important to the company and to the industry as a whole, as the first AEW champion will be crowned and, one expects, the first few storylines going into the Wednesday night TV show will kick into gear. Here’s what’s on tap:

Private Party (Isiah Kassidy & Marq Quen) vs. Angelico & Jack Evans (Buy-In Preshow)

Private Party is one of the most exciting tag teams in the industry right now. Think of NXT’s Street Profits with 10% more freshness and you’re in the right neighborhood. On the Buy-In preshow, they’ll face veteran lucha wrestlers and Guys Most Likely To Have A Dubstep Remix Of A Korn Song on their Spotify playlist, Angelico and Jack Evans. While not the most storyline-heavy match, this should be a well-worked, super athletic affair to get the crowd into the event and to introduce four of the guys that are sure to be a fixture in AEW’s tag division.

Women’s Casino Battle Royale (Buy-In Preshow)

Bringing together women from all over the industry for a chance at a women’s title shot is kind of a Mae Young Classic thing from NXT, but it’s an idea worth stealing. 21 women, some from AEW’s growing roster and from around the independent scene, will compete for a chance at the main women’s title.  Announced participants in the match include Lucha Underground’s Ivelisse, Awesome Kong, Brandi Rhodes, Allie, Yuka Sakazaki, Britt Baker, Nyla Rose, Jazz, Teal Piper (Roddy Piper’s daughter), Big Swole, and Sadie Gibbs. By my admittedly-rusty math, that leaves about 10 wild cards, so there’s a ton of intrigue in the remaining surprise entrants. Look for Britt Baker to shine here, if not come home with the whole thing.

Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy & Marko Stunt vs. SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky)

AEW’s most loveable trio, Luchasaurus and his buddies, Jungle Boy and the wee Marko Stunt, look to score a win over one of AEW’s least-likable groups, SoCal Uncensored. Jungle Boy might be a little green but, in my opinion, he should be a big focus of the company going forward, with his mainstream appeal and being one of the youngest members of this or any roster. Give him a few years and you might have another Matt Riddle on your hands.

Best Friends (Trent Barreta & Chuck Taylor) vs. The Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson) (winning team gets a first-round bye in AEW’s Tag Team title tournament)

I love both of these teams for different reasons. It’s impossible not to love Best Friends (especially Chuckie T), but The Dark Order are local boys who made good and are seriously underrated performers. This is one of the matches in which I find hardest to pick a winner, but I think Dark Order ekes out the victory here, as AEW seems to have big plans for them. Chuck and Trent will have their day in the future, though. Regardless of the result, this match should be a lot of fun and both teams will be at the top of their game.

Hikaru Shida vs. Riho

Joshi wrestling has been a fixture of AEW cards, thanks to the efforts of Kenny Omega, and that trend continues here with two of the most popular stars of that style. Those moves you like? The flippy ones that Ricochet and Will Ospreay bust out and cause Jim Cornette to fill his adult diaper? Joshis were doing them first. Shida and Riho are top notch wrestlers and are here to introduce joshi wrestling to the audience on a big stage, so the pressure will be on them to impress. This is the only women’s singles match on the card, so both competitors will have to be at the tippy top of their game.

Cracker Barrel Clash: Darby Allin vs. Joey Janela vs. Jimmy Havoc

Vince McMahon said, on a recent investor conference call, that “[WWE is] not gonna go back to that gory crap that we graduated from.” Despite this unsubtle reference to AEW’s use of a more hardcore, violent style in certain matches, AEW has leaned hard into deathmatch and deathmatch-adjacent wrestling. It’s not always my cup of tea, and it remains to be seen how this style will play out on TV. But Allin, Havoc, and Janela will be able to do a whole lot crazier shit on pay-per-view than they will on the regular TNT show. Allin made a fan of me at the Fyter Fest event where he wrestled Cody. I hope he’s one of the breakout stars of AEW this fall, so he’s my pick for this one. Also, with the recently-announced Cracker Barrel sponsorship of this match, look for someone to be hit with, or perhaps stuffed into, a barrel.

Cody Rhodes vs. Shawn Spears

After his shocking attack on his former friend and partner at Fyter Fest, Shawn Spears has enlisted former Horseman and general nasty dude, Tully Blanchard, to be his advisor. Re-igniting a decades-old feud between the Four Horsemen and the Rhodes family is incredibly intriguing. Cody has managed to make his matches and feuds – first with his brother Dustin, then with Darby Allin, and now Shawn Spears – into the most talked-about happenings at AEW events, so look for some fireworks here. Given the amount of blood spilled from Spears’ chairshot to Cody’s head at Fyter Fest, this match might even give Joey Janela a run for his money.

AAA Tag Team Champions The Lucha Bros (Pentagon Jr. & Fenix) defending against The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) in a ladder match

There’s not a lot you can count on in this world, but one thing you can be sure of is The Young Bucks tearing the house down in a ladder match. Doubly so when they’re across the ring from Pentagon and Fenix, two opponents that they’ve faced many times in many different countries and promotions, and with whom their chemistry is off the charts. I’m not sure if this match will bring closure to the long-running feud between these teams but, to borrow a phrase, I think it’ll be a slobberknocker, regardless. I think Saturday will be the Lucha Bros’ night.

Kenny Omega vs. PAC

Hot take: When PAC, formerly Neville in the WWE, was announced as the replacement for an injured Jon Moxley, I was overjoyed. I think these two can and will have better in-ring chemistry than Kenny and Mox, though the story has obviously been leading in that direction. PAC has been on a tear in Dragon Gate and other promotions and, like many wrestlers just freed of the WWE shackles, has brought his game to another level. “Best Bout Machine” Kenny Omega will not be looking to deviate from his streak of outstanding performances, so all the pieces are in place for this to bring the house down. I can’t see Moxley staying off the show completely, injury aside, so if he’s going to get involved, this match would be the place to do it.

Chris Jericho vs. Hangman Page for the AEW World Championship

I don’t want to oversell the importance of this match, but it’s really fucking important. The champion of a wrestling promotion should set the tone and direction for the whole company, and the main title should be on someone that can represent the brand. AEW will sink or swim based on their perception when they premiere on TNT, so it’s really important that their first champ is someone with real believability and credibility as a performer. The rocket is behind Hangman, for sure, but I think that Jericho is the right play for AEW here. Page needs to have a great, show-stealing performance against the former Y2J (and possibly have his theme song replaced with Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road) and lose by a nose-hair, then chase that title for a while on AEW TV and the next few big events. Meanwhile, Jericho has mainstream appeal and a rock-solid character, and is used to being the big fish. When it comes time for Page to win that title it’ll be a huge moment, but it’s early days yet. Let the Age of Jericho begin, and long may he reign.

All Out will be live from the Sears Centre in Chicago on Saturday, August 31. You can get details about how to watch in your area at AEW’s website

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