Jon Moxley Erases His 'PG Era' and 4 Biggest Takeaways of AEW Fyter Fest 2019June 30, 2019
Jon Moxley Erases His 'PG Era' and 4 Biggest Takeaways of AEW Fyter Fest 2019
All Elite Wrestling's Fyter Fest 2019 had the tall task of following up on the well-received Double or Nothing.
Regardless of whether it was a blatant secondary show or not to whet fans' appetites until All Out in August, Fyter Fest carried massive hype into Saturday night's event.
It should go without saying at this point, but AEW didn't have too many problems mostly meeting expectations. Not only did Jon Moxley have his debut match of sorts, the usual Superstars were in attendance and a few innovative surprises helped AEW further differentiate itself from its would-be competitors.
Coming out of the event, fans now have a better idea of where AEW wants to go as a brand and some long-term storyline seeds to anticipate in the coming months. These are the top takeaways.
MJF Continues to Solidify Himself as One of the Best in the Business
Like the event itself, MJF went into Saturday night needing to one-up his last showing.
Said prior showing involved MJF expertly working the crowd and Bret Hart, of all people, during the revelation of the company's top title, by the way.
And while MJF was somewhat smothered in a four-way match also featuring Hangman Page, Jungle Boy and Jimmy Havoc, he was given some time on the mic and once again worked the crowd unlike many in the business can do today.
One quick search of social media says it all—MJF is a superstar in the making. Wrestling Sheet's Ryan Satin was among those: "MJF is the best pure heel in wrestling at the moment, right?"
MJF's ability to get a reaction from the crowd is already world-class. Maybe some of this stems from competitors keeping to a strict formula and a PG rating, but he's unrivaled right now in this area and is the company's top heel.
Experiments in the Best Way Possible
AEW made a point to use the Fyter Fest stage to experiment a little and give fans a taste of what the full-fledged product will feature as it next moves to other special events and then its weekly broadcasts.
For example, Jon Moxley's main event against Joey Janela was a callback to deathmatch days for both guys. It wasn't necessarily as brutal as some of the matches in their storied history—but rest assured AEW won't hold them back from doing so in the future.
Cody Rhodes against Darby Allin was also an experiment in a few different ways. One, it offered an exercise in making the audience uncomfortable, both in the way one of them took a beating and the other in a headshot with a chair. Two, it reinforced the idea of a timer on matches and that a draw can occur so fans aren't ambushed by the idea at a later date.
These are small details in the bigger picture, yet AEW is working to help fans understand how its product differs from others on the market. And while it isn't all perfect, the slow rollout of these wrinkles is a welcome development.
Cody Generates Droves of Controversy
Cody got a reaction, to say the least.
After his match with Darby Allin, Cody was on the receiving end of a chair headshot from Shawn Spears. He was a bloody mess, seemed concussed and the announcers kept throwing down CTE mentions as plenty of talent from backstage helped him leave the ring.
Rest assured the headshot is proving to be incredibly controversial in the wrestling landscape and beyond all over the internet, and it will be for months to come. We don't need to go into the droves of examples in wrestling, NFL and beyond when it comes to the repercussions of these sorts of moves.
AEW founder and president Tony Khan talked with the media after the event about it (h/t Cageside Seat's Geno Mrosko): "Call the doctor immediately. It's obviously really regrettable what happened. I don't know if this is the time to go into detail about what happened, but we had taken precautions in this situation, in that specific situation, and a doctor was available."
The silver lining here? This seems like it was a mistake. Not only did Cody seem unprepared for the shot and didn't get his hands up, slow-motion replays show the chair whipping around the back of his head and doing the real damage. That doesn't make it any better, of course—but accidents happen in pro wrestling, and AEW can use this as a teaching moment by weaving it into the storyline and outright banning chair shots to the head.
Again, injuries are never good. But they do happen, intentionally or not (remember Brock Lesnar busting Randy Orton open with repeated elbows to the head for some reason?). And in this instance, AEW can better itself from it quickly.
Darby Allin Is on a Rocketship to the Top
Perhaps the most unfortunate thing about the Cody chair-shot fiasco is just how much it ended up overshadowing the performance by Darby Allin (which lends even more credibility to the idea it wasn't intended to go down the way it did).
Allin was an outright superstar for the duration of his draw with Cody. And that's one small point in the bigger scheme of things—nobody expected Allin to come away with anything but a resounding loss to someone of Cody's stature within AEW at a secondary show.
Yet, there was Allin hanging tough and taking a beating in the process. Some of his damage was of the self-inflicted variety, like the incredible (and probably ill-advised) leap from the top rope before slamming his back onto the outside edge of the ring.
But it all worked in concert to do one thing: get Allin's character over. Jim Ross and the announcing crew used the match to offer the audience a deep dive into Allin's past, his character's motivations and more. In the ring, Allin was fluid, violent and creative in a refreshing way fans don't always get to see from performers.
Allin has a long way to go before he's in the main event scene, and his matches from here on out will need to do more than simply retread moves and have him take a beating. But the groundwork here shows nothing short of Superstar potential.
Jon Moxley Erases His PG Era
Dean Ambrose is a relic of the past.
Jon Moxley went out of his way to show this Saturday night against Joey Janela in their so-called non-sanctioned match.
It was brutal in expected fashion, to say the least. Right out of the gates, the two got to work with a barbwire steel chair. It progressed—or regressed—from there, depending on one's outlook on these sort of things. Multiple barbed wire boards entered the fray, as did tables and some high-flying maneuvers.
Then there were the thumbtacks. Moxley removed Janela's boots and slammed his feet into these, which went about as one might expect. He then poured more onto the mat and slammed himself on them at the same time he took Janela's forehead into them for the finish. Moxley then proceeded to get ambushed by Kenny Omega as a bit of retribution for their last encounter, but he was smiling like a goon after getting beat down as the pay-per-view faded to black.
Suffice it to say, this isn't PG Ambrose anymore. The whole point of the build to this match was Janela calling out Moxley as watered-down from his WWE days. That isn't the case, a point the two helped drive home with thumbtacks, among other things.
Coming out of the event, Moxley feels like an entirely different person, which is the point. He's unchained now, free of the prison like all those hype videos showed, and by far one of the hottest names in professional wrestling, which isn't set to change anytime soon.