AEW Fight for the Fallen 2019 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
The penultimate stop on the road to All Out rolled through Jacksonville, Florida Saturday night as All Elite Wrestling presented Fight for the Fallen, headlined by a battle between Cody and Dustin Rhodes and The Young Bucks.
That match headlined a card that set the stage for the biggest AEW event to date. What went down, which stars put themselves in position to roll into Chicago with momentum on their sides and how did the results affect the young company going forward?
Find out with this recap of the Bleacher Report Live broadcast.
Sonny Kiss vs. Peter Avalon
"The Librarian" Peter Avalon, accompanied by the other librarian, Leva Bates, kicked off The Buy In preshow with a promo met by a thunderous chorus of boos and, ultimately, interrupted by Sonny Kiss.
Kiss showed raw ability early but was grounded by Avalon. Kiss countered a suplex attempt and created separation. A dropkick by Avalon cut off any attempt at a comeback.
The babyface did finally create some momentum and had Avalon reeling. Bates provided a momentary distraction but Kiss shook it off and delivered a splitting legdrop from the middle rope for the pinfall victory.
Kiss defeated Avalon
There was nothing inherently wrong with this match but it did not create any more or less excitement for the show it is kicking off. That is the one job a kickoff show match has. That Sonny Kiss had not been utilized in any substantial way to this point, and The Librarian gimmick has been panned, did not help matters.
To Kiss and Avalon's credit, they worked hard and the match was fine enough for what it was.
What it was, though, was not an ideal show-opener aimed at drumming up energy for the rest of the evening's festivities.
Britt Baker and Riho vs. Bea Priestley and Shoko Nakajima
The second match of The Buy In pitted Britt Baker and Riho against the debuting Bea Priestley and Shoko Nakajima.
The latter competitors isolated Riho at one point, working the smaller opponent's injured left arm. A tag to Baker ignited the first babyface comeback and a showdown between her and Priestley that brought the crowd to their feet.
The action broke down later in the match, with Baker and Priestley exchanging blows and Nakajima and Riho trading near-falls. The crowd bought into the close calls and false finishes, including a beautiful double stomp by Riho that nearly earned her the fall over Nakajima.
As the Japanese-born competitors continued to spar, Nakajima caught her opponent with a step-up enzuigiri and scored the victory.
Nakajima and Priestley defeated Baker and Riho
This was, without a doubt, the best Buy In match in AEW history.
It's a short history, of course, but that does not diminish just how good this match was. It was a match of two stories, with the Baker-Priestley exchange engaging the audience and Riho and Nakajima carrying the final moments of the match.
The post-match brawl between Baker and Priestley, coupled with the commentary by Excalibur and Alex Marvez, suggests their rivalry will continue, perhaps with championship implications. Enough cannot be said about Riho, though, who has been a part of all three AEW shows to date and has been involved in one of the night's best matches of every one of them.
This was a fantastic way to introduce fans unfamiliar with AEW to what the company wants its product to be.
Jimmy Havoc, Darby Allin and Joey Janela vs. Shawn Spears, MJF and Sammy Guevara
The Fight for the Fallen main show action kicked off with a huge Six-Man Tag Team match pitting "The Chairman" Shawn Spears, "The Best Ever" Sammy Guevara and MJF against Jimmy Havoc, Darby Allin and "Bad Boy" Joey Janela.
The babyfaces dominated the action early, first frustrating MJF, then pummeling Guevara following a nasty German suplex into the corner by Janela. A blind charge from the Bad Boy, though, turned the tide in the heel's favor. MJF delivered a running forearm that knocked Janela to the arena floor and Spears continued the punishment back inside the squared circle.
Dissension between Spears and MJF, though, allowed Janela to make a hot tag to Havoc and spark the babyface comeback that included a tower of doom suplex to Guevara. The action broke down, with Havoc delivering an Acid Rainmaker to MJF and Guevara answering with a backstabber.
The Best Ever teased his 630 splash but Janela downed him with a Death Valley Driver onto the ring apron.
Back in the ring, Spears delivered a fireman's carry neckbreaker across the knee, followed up with a running Death Valley Driver and scored the fall on Allin.
Spears, Guevara and MJF defeated Allin, Havoc and Janela
MJF and Spears clearly did not get along following the latter's attack on Cody two weeks ago at Fyter Fest but it was the mounting tension between Allin and Havoc on the babyface team that led to the finish here.
Allin tagged himself into the match, slowed his team's momentum and ended up eating the pin. That would seem to set up what would be an incredibly high-risk, ridiculously violent feud between the two.
What the match did well, besides highlight how great Guevara is this early in his career, was allow MJF and Spears to express dislike for each other without sacrificing their heel personas. WWE never would have been able to execute that because of their storytelling style. That little wrinkle made for a more interesting and refreshing take.
Allie vs. Brandi Rhodes
Determined to prove she belongs between the squared circle, Chief Brand Officer Brandi Rhodes made her in-ring debut with AEW as she battled the unbeaten Allie in singles competition. Before the match could get underway, Awesome Kong's music played and the imposing wrestler made her way to the ringside area.
Allie fended off an early cheap shot by Rhodes to score a Russian leg sweep for two. Allie's early onslaught ended when she mistakenly took her eyes off Rhodes, turning her attention to Kong. A big baseball slide dropkick allowed the CBO of AEW to seize control.
When Allie attempted a comeback, Rhodes blasted her with a sidekick. The presence of Kong continued to distract Allie, keeping the Torontonian from mustering any sort of sustained babyface comeback.
Allie finally mounted a comeback, complete with a sliding forearm in the former. A bulldog followed for two. Rhodes answered a snap suplex out of the corner for another near-fall.
Allie delivered a running Death Valley Driver but Kong pulled Rhodes toward the ropes to break up the pin. Moments later, when Allie applied the dragon sleeper, Kong hopped on the apron, distracting the official and preventing him from seeing Rhodes tapping out.
A rake to the eyes of the distracted Allie and a Bionic Spear earned Rhodes the tainted victory as Jim Ross asked about the professional relationship between the CBO and Kong.
After the match, Kong set Allie up for an Awesome Bomb but Aja Kong made her way to the ring, staring down the woman who carried the "Kong" mantle in Japan in her wake.
Rhodes defeated Allie
To say the in-ring action between Allie and Rhodes was a bit disjointed at times would be an understatement, though it was better than a match involving someone with limited in-ring experience like Rhodes would otherwise be.
The effort was there on the part of Brandi, and Allie did her part in carrying the storyline involving Kong, but the match was so-so at best.
The post-match between Awesome and Aja Kong sets up an extraordinarily hard-hitting match between two of the most imposing and celebrated female performers of all time. One can only hope AEW delivers on that as soon as Chicago's All Out.
Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy vs. Angelico and Jack Evans vs. The Dark Order
The right to compete for the AEW Tag Team Championships was at stake as Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy, Angelico and Jack Evans, and The Dark Order (Stu Grayson and Evil Uno) battled in a Triple Threat match.
Grayson made an emphatic statement early in the match, tossing both Evans and Angelico around the squared circle with a tenacity and ferociousness expected out of a team as obviously dangerous as The Dark Order had been presented to this point.
The quick, sudden Jungle Boy entered the match and frustrated Uno early with his speed but Uno dropped him with a neckbreaker. Jungle Boy tagged in Luchasaurus and Uno was quick to tag out to Evans, whose interaction with the big man did not go quite according to plan.
The Dark Order reassumed control of the match, isolating Jungle Boy and working over the smallest competitor in the match. A big senton by Uno nearly earned the heels the win, but the undersized Jungle Boy kicked out at two. A big spear allowed him to make the tag to Luchasaurus, who dominated the competition.
Jungle Boy delivered a shooting star press with the assistance of his favorite dinosaur to Angelico and Evans while Luchasaurus continued his roll, taking the fight to both Grayson and Uno.
Angelico and Evans shined, pummeling Jungle Boy and scoring a few more near-falls. Marko Stunt, who accompanied the babyface tandem, delivered a death-defying headscissors to Evans before being ejected by the official.
Luchasaurus delivered a side suplex to Evans, into a powerbomb by Jungle Boy, but Uno broke up the pin as fans broke out in an "AEW" chant. The Dark Order delivered a 450 splash/cannonball combo to the babyfaces but scored a near-fall. They would finally put Jungle Boy away moments later, cashing their ticket to All Out and a showdown with the Best Friends, Trent Baretta and Chuck Taylor.
The Dark Order defeated Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy and Jack Evans and Angelico
Good Ol' JR mentioned there were stars to be made in this one and he was absolutely right.
Jungle Boy was a revelation to fans unfamiliar with his work and Luchasaurus continued to build a reputation as one of the best big men in the industry. Throw in the usual aerial antics of Evans and Angelico, as well as unmatched fury from The Dark Order, and you have a recipe for a potentially show-stealing match.
The spots were inventive, the near-falls dramatic and the efforts from all involved first-class.
Kudos to Marko Stunt for that outstanding headscissors spot, which popped the crowd and helped him make the most of his minutes.
Hangman Page vs. Kip Sabian
Hangman Page may be on his way to Chicago and a date with Chris Jericho for the AEW Championship but to preserve his win streak, he would have to get through "Superbad" Kip Sabian, winner of the first singles match in company history back at Double Or Nothing.
Page controlled early, proving why he is in the position he is and controlling the pace. A springboard enzuigiri by Sabian looked to turn the tide but a hard right hand by the top young star in AEW ensured Page would retain the advantage.
Sabian finally changed that, delivering a springboard dropkick and another step-up kick to the side of the head. He continued to catch Page off-guard with a series of kicks and a diving double stomp that earned him a two count.
A belly-to-belly overhead suplex allowed Page to create some separation. Page fought back, delivering a low clothesline for two. Sabian again took to the air, delivering a springboard tornado DDT for two. A stomp to the injured knee of Page and a kick square to the chest of Hangman earned Superbad another near-fall.
Page exploded back into the match and delivered a breathtaking moonsault from the top rope to Sabian on the arena floor. He intensely sold his knee injury but recovered enough to deliver a wicked powerbomb from the ring to the wooden ramp as the crowd popped. Sabian sold the bump with some leg twitching, really putting over the damage it caused.
A swinging neckbreaker off the top rope earned Page yet another two count as Sabian's intestinal fortitude was on full display. Superbad delivered a dragon screw leg whip in the ropes, further damaging the already bum knee of his opponent.
A series of roll-throughs gave way to Page's Right of Passage as Hangman picked up a hard-fought victory.
After the match, one of The Dark Order's creepers hit the ring and attacked Page. He delivered a Codebreaker, unmasked and revealed himself to be Chris Jericho. Y2J followed with the Judas Effect, leaving Page bloodied and reeling from the assault.
Page defeated Sabian
Page and Sabian took a few minutes to warm up but once they did, they delivered a hellishly fun, highly competitive match that helped warm Page up for his AEW title match with Jericho and elevated Sabian's star.
Page appears a bit slower than he was at the height of his run in Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling, something that can be attributed to either a legitimate knee injury or some expert selling. Had he been able to be a step quicker, this could have been even better.
The post-match beatdown was problematic because the fans in Jacksonville chanted "thank you, Jericho," the first hint that there may be backlash toward Page for being the "chosen one" of AEW. Hopefully, that is not the case but this was not encouraging on that front.
Lucha Bros vs. SoCal Uncensored
Pentagon Jr. and Ray Fenix, The Lucha Bros, battled SCU's Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian in tag-team action as both teams looked to pick up a much-needed win after a disappointing Fyre Fest.
The wildly popular masked duo downed Sky and Kazarian, then turned their attention to Christopher Daniels on the arena floor, delivering a nasty chop to his exposed chest. The Fallen Angel repaid the assault with a moonsault that wiped Pentagon and Fenix out on the floor.
With Daniels ejected by referee Aubrey Edwards, Kazarian turned his attention to Fenix, dropping a springboard legdrop across his chest for two. He and Sky exchanged quick tags, keeping Fenix off-guard and grounded.
A big kick by Fenix sparked a comeback for the Lucha Bros that including a monkey flip into a senton and a double stomp by Pentagon for a near-fall. A delay in the action allowed SCU to fight back, including a German suplex to Fenix from Kazarian. Fenix answered with a somersault double cutter to the opposition.
A passive cover from Pentagon netted a near-fall but a double stomp from Fenix into a package piledriver by Pentagon earned the Lucha Bros their first win in AEW.
After the match, The Lucha Bros brought a ladder into the ring and utilized it to attack SCU, including Daniels, who re-emerged from the back. A mic in-hand, Lucha Bros issued a challenge to The Young Bucks for a ladder match at All Out.
Lucha Bros defeated SCU
The match itself lacked the spark of Lucha Bros' matches with The Young Bucks but it was still an energetic sprint of a match. The spots were solid and the right team went over. For a match with no build whatsoever, designed only to put Fenix and Pentagon over ahead of the proposed match with Nick and Matt Jackson in Chicago, it was a fun addition to the card.
Kazarian and Sky have been so consistently good that they oftentimes go underrated or undervalued. They have proven they can kick shows off with a bang but can also hang with a team as acclaimed and in their prime as Lucha Bros. SCU, including Daniels, is invaluable.
Kenny Omega vs. Cima
Seeking his first singles victory in AEW, Kenny Omega battled Cima in the night's semi-main event.
Sensing his opponent's desperation, Cima controlled early, catching his him with a roll-through double stomp that drove the air from Omega. A dropkick later in the bout halted Omega's momentum. He followed with a perfect driver for a count of two as Jim Ross continued to play up the affect weather was having on the competitors.
A wicked heel kick to the back of the head set Omega up to wrest control from his opponent but Cima countered a superplex attempt with a sunset flip bomb from the ropes. He looked to follow up with Meteora but Omega moved out of the way. Counters and reversals prevented the competitors from gaining a sustained upper-hand until Omega delivered a snapdragon suplex. Cima recovered and delivered a backstabber, staying one step ahead of Omega.
Omega, though, continuously targeted the knee of his opponent, hoping to weaken his base. Cima fended off further damage, placed Omega on the timekeeper's table and delivered a Meteora from the stands to the chest. Back inside, he delivered two more Meteoras for a dramatic near-fall.
Omega blocked another Meteora, sent Cima into the corner and executed a wicked V-Trigger for two. A perfect driver across the knee, a second V-Trigger and an attempted One-Winged Angel followed. Cima escaped, though, and delivered a nasty DDT to slow things down.
Cima continued to weaken the upper body of Omega with Meteora after Meteora. He dropped Omega on the ring apron as chants of "you killed Kenny" broke out. Another Meteora followed but Omega just barely draped his foot over the bottom rope to break the count.
Exhaustion setting in, the wrestlers exchanged blows late. Omega delivered the Tiger Driver '98 for two. Cima dodged one V-Trigger, ate another and fell prey to the One-Winged Angel for the win.
Omega defeated Cima
Omega and Cima tore the house down with a match befitting their reputations across the globe.
What started a step slower than expected steadily built into a war of strikes, stomps, Meteoras and V-Triggers until Omega had to pull out his equalizer, the One-Winged Angel, to finally put Cima away.
After a Six-Man Tag Team match at Fyter Fest that felt like an underwhelming representation of what makes Omega so special, The Best Bout Machine responded with an extraordinarily hard-fought match that earned him a win heading into All Out but also earned Cima a legion of fans that may not have been familiar to his exploits internationally.
Chris Jericho's Open Mic
Chris Jericho took to the same ring he attacked Hangman Page in earlier in the night for a special "open mic" segment. Y2J reminded the wrestling world that he is demanding a "thank you" from AEW for everything he has brought them, including the television deal with TNT.
Jericho relived the Casino Battle Royale and put Page over.
He said if he beats Page, it is just another victory; another notch in his belt. If he loses, it is the beginning of the end of Jericho's career and the downfall of AEW. That made him realize he has to beat The Hangman.
He vowed to win the title, to save AEW and prove that Hangman is "a little b---h."
This brought Page to the ring, igniting a brawl that saw the locker room empty and officials rush to separate the budding rivals.
Page was left seething as the segment came to an end.
Jericho can elevate any match, against any opponent, with a single promo.
While this one was a bit all over the place early, it really excelled once he focused his attention on Page and their match at All Out. Creating stakes beyond the title, Jericho added gravity to the match that otherwise may not have existed.
The brawl only made it that much better, particularly with the closeups of the damage done by Jericho earlier to the eye of Page.
Cody and Dustin Rhodes vs. The Young Bucks
Over four years had passed since Cody and Dustin Rhodes last teamed. Their first opponents as a reunited tandem? Only the best team in the world: The Young Bucks. In Florida, a state their father, "The American Dream" Dusty, wrestled some of his finest matches.
Tensions were high early with Nick Jackson refusing a friendly handshake from Cody and delivering an insulting slap to the face. Double planchas from the Bucks left the Rhodes brothers reeling and the mocking of their emotional embrace from Double or Nothing earned them a chorus of boos from the fans in Jacksonville.
The Bucks wrestled control of the match, working a fast pace that kept Dustin guessing while simultaneously cutting the ring off from Cody. A big cross-body block later in the bout allowed Dustin to create just enough separation to make the hot tag to the American Nightmare.
A fired up Cody dropped Matt Jackson with a release suplex and caught Nick with a top rope moonsault. He soared over the top rope like a missile, wiping Matt out on the ramp. From there, he unloaded with his weight belt, lashing the back of his opponent.
The brothers Rhodes, the tide turned, punished the Bucks for their disrespect earlier in the bout. They worked over Matt's left arm, taking a weapon away from the tag team specialist.
Jackson sent Cody onto the wooden ramp, then delivered a last-gasp spear. He finally made the tag to Nick, who fired up and took the fight to both opponents. He delivered a double stomp to Dustin, dropped Cody with a backstabber and called for a Superkick Party.
The crowd split, cheering for both teams as the bout neared its crescendo.
The Young Bucks tried the Meltzer Driver but Cody interrupted with a Disaster Kick. A senton by Nick broke up the Rhodes' pin on Matt and ensured the match would continue. An exchange of blows ended when Cody inadvertently blasted referee Rick Knox with an elbow. The Rhodes took advantage of the momentary distraction, delivering stereo powerslams.
The Bucks caught Cody in midair with a superkick and climbed into the ring, ready to take advantage of a Dustin all alone. The Natural tried for the drop-down uppercut but Nick blasted him with a superkick. A top rope elbow by Matt ended with a near-fall.
With Cody back in the ring, the Bucks targeted his previously injured head, blasting him with a double superkick. Dustin broke up the pin and helped his brother to his feet. The Bucks mockingly dropped down and delivered uppercuts of their own. The Rhodeses answered with superkicks. Matt delivered Cross Rhodes on Cody and Nick soared over the ropes onto Dustin.
The Meltzer Driver finished Cody as the Bucks picked up an impressive win.
The Young Bucks defeated Cody and Dustin Rhodes
Matt Jackson sold the hell out of his arm from start to finish, really putting over the attack perpetrated on it by the Rhodes brothers. For one-half of a team oftentimes accused of not selling over the course of a match, he was phenomenal here.
The storytelling was strong, with the Bucks mocking their opponents and paying for it later. The utilization of the opponent's own moves against them added a nice bit of insult to injury, all of which was forgotten after the match when The Bucks paid great respect to Cody and Dustin.
The one negative? The lack of stakes.
This was a match built on respect and while that was earned by both teams, neither really appear better or worse off coming out of the bout. Furthermore, the Bucks essentially swept the challenge by The Lucha Bros under the rug. Perhaps due to television time constraints but it still felt out of place for them to not even acknowledge Pentagon and Fenix's proposal.
The show-closing bit, with the presentation of the check from Kenny Omega, Alex Jebailey and AEW to the city of Jacksonville was a nice touch and a reminder that while the company is still very much revolution- and competition-minded, it is not forgetting to leave an impact on its host cities while it marches toward its ultimate goal of changing the wrestling world.