The following editorial was written by Tyler Treese and does not reflect the opinions of WrestleZone as a whole. We encourage you all to discuss Tyler’s thoughts in the comments section at the bottom of this post and follow him on Twitter @tylertreese.
All Elite Wrestling put on their second show with Fyter Fest. It seemed to show what the promotion will look like going forward on regular shows as it wasn’t a grand spectacle like Double or Nothing. With it, we saw some good action but also some flaws that will have to be addressed going forward.
Let’s take a look at what worked and what could use some tweaking from the show in my AEW Fyter Fest review.
AEW Fyter Fest Review | What Worked
First off, I loved the main event between Jon Moxley and Joey Janela. Moxley feels like a true star outside of WWE and he’s easily their hottest star right now. He feels special and this match made him look sadistic and a real threat. Props to Janela as well, who is always happy to put his body on the line, and delivered a great match. His dive off a ladder onto two tables was as awesome as it was frightening. A great match between two top-notch performers. That is what AEW main events should be.
One booking decision I absolutely loved was Cody vs. Darby Allin ending in a draw. While nobody typically wants a draw since “a tie is like kissing your sister,” I thought it told a better story this way. First, it emphasized that All Elite Wrestling is a sport. The 20-minute time limit isn’t just said, it actually means something and is enforced. That’s a huge positive as they try to get their sports presentation ready for TNT. As far as the characters go, it emphasized just how tough Allin was. Despite getting beat for most of the match, he refused to back down. It also showed how Cody’s cocky behavior backfired as he could have probably put Allin away if he didn’t showboat as much or do stupid stuff like trying to put his opponent in a body bag.
While I wasn’t crazy about the idea of Fyter Fest, since I don’t find mocking Fyre Fest all that funny over two years removed from it actually happening, I’m glad that the event felt legitimately different from Double or Nothing. From the tropical props to a few little gags, this show had a different tone than its predecessor. That’s a great move. Each event should feel unique and having moments like The Elite dressing up like Street Fighter characters is the right way to show a nod to the CEO fighting game tourney.
AEW Fyter Fest Review | Areas To Improve
For the second straight show, All Elite Wrestling had an awful pre-show. It started fine with a fun tag match, but then the horrible librarians came out and completely killed the show’s momentum. Regardless of what one thinks of Leva Bates or Peter Avalon, this gimmick is awful and won’t find any success. It doesn’t help that Bates had an awful match with Allie afterward. It’s comedy that isn’t funny and it’s worse than most RAW segments. Likewise, the match between Alex Jebailey and Michael Nakazawa was also a chore to watch. AEW promotes itself as having the best wrestlers in the world, so why is a barely trained fighting game organizer in the ring botching moves on your second show?
I also had a major hang-up in the Cody match, and it’s not about the botched chair shot that many freaked out about (For the record, wrestling is performance art and if an artist wants to take that risk I’m not going to act like it needs to be limited). What bothered me more was that inconsistency of the reffing. Cody used foreign objects, including whipping Allin with his belt, multiple times during the match and was never penalized or disqualified for his actions. If we’re going to act like this is a sport, as the draw suggests, then the reffing needs to be logical. Illegal actions need to have repercussions. One of my few beefs with New Japan Pro-Wrestling is that the refs constantly look incompetent and I hope AEW can avoid that in the future.
Also, I wish there was more of a presentation upgrade. I’d like to see a clock ticking down during a match when there is a time limit in place. I want to see statistics about the wrestlers. It was a pretty barren on-screen production compared to the boxing and mixed martial arts fights I watched during the same weekend. I want to see AEW deliver on their promises, and while it’s still very early, I wish I was seeing more of an effort in these areas.
For the rest of the card, we saw a lot of solid but unspectacular performances. No match felt like an all-time classic and it was more subdued than Double or Nothing in general. I feel like this should set expectations going forward for non-PPV cards (although I do have to mention that it was a paid show internationally). Expect a fun event but it’s clear that AEW has some issues they need to work through and that they won’t put on a card of the year nominee every time out.