All Elite Wrestling’s New York debut couldn’t have gone any better tonight. This show was a Grand Slam home run. It was fantastic. It had everything you’d want from a wrestling show and more. All Elite have serious momentum, and with a beyond-loaded talent roster, they show no sign of slowing down.
Everything was a hit on this show; no misses
What kicked off this show could very well be the best match in All Elite history. World champion Kenny Omega wrestled the debuting Bryan Danielson to a 30-minute draw. With these two, how could it be anything but an absolute classic? It was a dream match for every fan with a clue, and it delivered big time. The crowd went bonkers for the opening bell. The guys both worked their asses off. I already can’t wait to revisit it.
While the fans largely didn’t like the result, with some smart formatting, CM Punk brought them right back as he followed the classic match with a fantastic interview. The 20,000+ audience sang along to Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality” as Punk made his entrance. He cut a promo on Powerhouse Hobbs and Team Taz and got us all hyped for the match on Rampage this week. We even got to see Jack Spade in the front row.
MJF beat Brian Pillman Jr. in a fine wrestling match before a crowd that seemed somewhat dazed, though how could you not be after watching two of the best in the world go 30 minutes, then watching a living legend cut a fiery promo? MJF got some more of the heat back here, and he sure needs it after losing to Chris Jericho.
Jericho and Jake Hager were interviewed by the robotic Alex Marvez, and it could be considered the low point of the show, but it was hard to call this bad. Jericho dropped a reference to the legendary story involving Haku and a nose. I just found myself wondering where Dasha Gonzalez was.
In what was as interesting as it was good, Malakai Black beat Cody Rhodes and this Queens audience did not like Cody. Brandi Rhodes was back for this match as well, walking out of the heel entrance tunnel to join Cody. I was hoping for a double-turn, but it has somewhat already happened. Black used black mist to subdue Rhodes for the win. The flush roundhouse from Black to Rhodes also mustn’t go unmentioned.
True love is having your significant other mention you in their promo every single week.
We got a VTR for Miro’s upcoming TNT title defense against Sammy Guevara, which was good. True love is having your significant other mention you in their promo every single week. I have a feeling Guevara is winning this title. It wouldn’t be my number-one pick, but it isn’t the worst; it’s an exciting match, nonetheless!
FTR vs. Sting & Darby Allin was perfect. FTR are the best tag team in the world, and don’t let anyone tell you different. Darby Allin was great as always, and the 62-year-old Stinger was cooking as Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood made both babyfaces look like $1,000,000 (USD).
The main event saw Britt Baker successfully defend her world title against Ruby Soho in a very good match. The crowd did feel tired in parts, but Baker and Soho had them by the end. I was hoping for a stronger “Ruby had Britt beat” spot here, but Soho still looked legit. Britt hit an Air Raid Crash off the middle rope and the landing for Ruby looked rough, but it got a good reaction, as did the stomping of Soho’s face onto the steps. I don’t know what’s next for Baker, but we know Thunder Rosa is the money match. It’s just a matter of when they want to do that program.
This episode was great. It featured great to phenomenal wrestling up and down and felt like a genuinely special show by the end. You had a bit of everything: A downright classic; a great display of young talent; a legend looking strong without burying full-timers; great promos; and a world championship match. AEW is killing it right now.