AEW Fyter Fest 2019 Results: Reviewing Top Highlights and Low Points
All Elite Wrestling made a major statement when its first pay-per-view, Double or Nothing, delivered on its promise and then some.
Despite overcoming that massive hurdle, AEW had to prove that it wasn't a one-time success, so all eyes were on Fyter Fest on Saturday to show there is true staying power.
In a smart move to grow the brand, Fyter Fest was broadcast free on B/R Live, allowing all curious fans to check out the product to see what AEW is all about.
So was it a success that is sure to create even more fans of the company going forward, or was this a weak follow-up that came off more underwhelming than another step in the right direction?
Now that the show is over, let's assess the damage—for better or worse—and pinpoint some of the standout pros and cons of the night.
Presented in order of appearance, here are the highlights and low points of Fyter Fest.
Full Match Results
AEW Fyter Fest results
- Best Friends defeated SoCal Uncensored and Private Party by pinfall.
- Allie defeated Leva Bates by pinfall.
- Michael Nakazawa defeated Alex Jebailey by pinfall.
- Cima defeated Christopher Daniels by pinfall.
- Riho defeated Yuka Sakazaki and Nyla Rose by pinfall.
- "Hangman" Adam Page defeated Jimmy Havoc, Jungle Boy and MJF by pinfall.
- Cody and Darby Allin wrestle to a time limit draw.
- The Elite defeated The Lucha Bros and Laredo Kid by pinfall.
- Jon Moxley defeated Joey Janela by pinfall.
Highlight: Not Skimping on Production
Double or Nothing needed to be a grandiose event because it was AEW's debut show and would set everyone's expectations of the company's potential. It would have been understandable if Fyter Fest weren't as big.
This was a free show that was paired with a gaming festival and inspired, in part, by the train wreck Fyre Festival, yet there wasn't much separating this from something like WWE's Stomping Grounds.
There were parody elements of Fyre Festival, saying the budget had been blown and the models had to be replaced with mannequins, there was no live music as the bands had pulled out of the show and so on, but those were done for laughs and were the best comedic parts of the night.
The stage, the ring, the lighting and the video production all looked great, and the crowd felt large and excited. Instead of this being written off as a glorified house show, it kept up a perception of a legitimate pay-per-view. And if the smaller AEW shows are this quality going forward, that's a great sign of things to come.
Highlight: Best Friends vs. SoCal Uncensored vs. Private Party
The purpose of the Buy In, especially for the second AEW event that also happened to be free, is to give viewers a taste of what's to come and to convince them to tune in to the main card.
Kicking off this pre-show with the three-way match between Best Friends, SoCal Uncensored and Private Party was a fantastic way to start, as those three teams were on fire.
Not one person failed to make the most of their time in this match, and despite Best Friends coming out on top, SCU and Private Party looked just as good, which helped put over the tag team division as a whole.
Marq Quen arguably stole the show with his agility, with highlights being his shooting star press and tornado DDT. But everyone had their time to shine and made near-falls that could have ended the match at any point, which only helped make it more fun to watch.
If you missed this contest, it's definitely worth going back and checking out; it was a great showcase of the energetic athleticism expected out of AEW.
Low Point: The Librarians
Some wrestling fans tend to like hardcore stunts and spots. Others like technical mat wrestling. And some are in it for the characters.
If you're the type of fan who is more fond of the 1990s-style over-the-top gimmicks, Leva Bates' and Peter Avalon's portrayals of two feuding librarian characters will be right up your alley, but it didn't seem as though that has resonated with a lot of other viewers.
Bates came out to shush the audience and try to gain heat by saying the gamers in the audience should read books, instead. Rather than getting uproarious laughter or tons of heat, it came off awkward.
Kylie Rae was somewhat advertised to be facing Bates for the Buy In, but it was never officially announced, and Allie came to the rescue by interrupting to start their match.
The fight itself was fine but couldn't compare to the match that preceded it or turn this from a low point into a highlight.
Low Point: Michael Nakazawa vs. Alex Jebailey
Perhaps it wasn't a good idea to book two jokey things in a row, as the lackluster Bates vs. Allie segment was followed up with the hardcore match between CEO's Alex Jebailey and Michael Nakazawa.
Everybody knew this was going to be bad beforehand since Jebailey isn't a trained wrestler, but it at least had some potential to be so ridiculous that it could have been fun. Sadly, it wasn't.
Instead of making this all about gaming references, with goofy stuff like finishing maneuvers from fighting games and weaponry from Super Smash Bros. and so on, it was more like a bad backyard wrestling showcase at a local convention.
This should have had more of the GameCube controller strangling spot and less of Jebailey's horrible forearms.
Perhaps the worst part of the entire thing was the finish, which was a super-weak reversal of a pinfall that was just embarrassing for even a free match on a free card.
The idea of a third meeting between Jebailey and Nakazawa seems eye-rolling rather than enticing.
Low Point: Yuka Sakazaki vs. Riho vs. Nyla Rose
AEW has a ton of potential to have an amazing women's division, but this three-way match was no game-changer.
This was sloppy in far too many spots than can be ignored, like Yuka Sakazaki's wobbly springboard and Nyla Rose's casual break up of a pin—the latter even prompted the commentary team to make fun of it.
While there weren't any botches that will go down as historic, all three wrestlers had their moments of being out of sync. Riho and Sakazaki tried a variety of sequences that were clunky and ended with one of them breaking the suspension of disbelief in order to finish whatever move was planned to go next.
The crowd chanted "this is awesome" when something went well, but if this were a WWE match, with the attitude toward that product, those same fans would have been booing and saying "you can't wrestle."
Fair is fair, and both WWE and AEW deserve to be reviewed under the same circumstances. This was far from the worst match ever, but it wasn't something that earned a "this is awesome" chant.
Highlight: Hangman Page vs. Jungle Boy vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. MJF
MJF is an absolute star, and he continues to prove that he will be one of AEW's key players and biggest characters.
His pre-match promo was one of the best parts of the night, as he managed to simultaneously make the crowd laugh while getting heat and establishing himself as the definitive heel in the contest.
Once the action started, the four competitors played their parts perfectly. MJF's character shone through, Jungle Boy provided some speed and agility, Havoc filled in whatever spot he needed to and "Hangman" Adam Page was the featured babyface.
While this wasn't a highlight-reel match in terms of wild spots, it didn't need to be. It was a rock-solid wrestling contest, like most matches should be.
At the end, the right call was made in having Havoc take a pin for Page with MJF on the outside, as the Page-MJF story has legs to continue far beyond this point.
Highlight: The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega vs. The Lucha Bros and Laredo Kid
Embracing the gaming aspect of the show, bonus points are given to The Young Bucks for being dressed as Ryu and Ken, and Kenny Omega as Akuma, as well as Justin Roberts announcing "Round 1—fight!" They even managed to hit a triple hadouken toward the end of the match, which was silly but in a good way.
Match-wise, this was exactly the type of thing a large portion of AEW fans are looking for. It was all about being fast and performing moves that pop the crowd.
That is to be expected from Omega and The Young Bucks, and it was good to see all parties involved deliver.
Naturally, this wasn't the type of match for fans of storytelling and deep-seated feuds. There wasn't much substance in that regard, as this was just a spectacle of wrestling talent more than a dramatic performance to push forward and set up Fight for the Fallen or All Out.
More than any match on the card, this was the one that got the crowd on its feet, so there's no doubt it was one of the biggest highlights of the night.
Highlight: Jon Moxley vs. Joey Janela
As mentioned before, there are many different types of wrestling fans. This match certainly would have appealed to the viewer who is more fond of ECW and the extreme side of sports entertainment.
The anticipation that these two would beat the living hell out of each other was fully realized.
Joey Janela hit Jon Moxley with a prosthetic limb for a laugh, and a minute later, a steel chair wrapped in barbed wire was introduced to seriously up the danger level and remind everyone that this was not fun and games like Jebailey vs. Nakazawa.
And if a barbed-wire chair wasn't good enough for you because you're more of the "we want tables" fan, there were tables and barbed-wire-covered boards too. Thumb tacks were the cherry on top.
This was brutal, and while it's hard to support wrestlers putting themselves in such dangerous positions in 2019, knowing all we know about how hard this business can be on the body as it is, it was still highly entertaining and one of the most memorable matches of the show.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.