Early Predictions for Entire AEW All Out Match Card
On August 30, All Elite Wrestling returns to Chicago's Sears Centre Arena for All Out, a pay-per-view extravaganza in which the company's first world heavyweight champion will be crowned and the groundwork for the rivalries that will fuel its television product will be laid.
Who will emerge as champion from the main event between Chris Jericho and Hangman Page? Can Cody avenge the sickening chair shot Shawn Spears dealt him at Fyter Fest? Will Kenny Omega put an end to the chaos that is Jon Moxley, or will the "damaged goods" overcome The Best Bout Machine?
As the event draws near, dive into this look at the announced card for some early predictions for the potentially history-altering spectacular.
Joey Janela vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Darby Allin
Chaos will reign supreme as three of the most creative, hardcore and violent competitors in the industry battle in a Triple Threat match.
Darby Allin, Joey Janela and Jimmy Havoc were partners at Fight for the Fallen, but the inability of Allin and Havoc to coexist cost them a victory. In Chicago, the competitors will throw caution to the wind in what is sure to be the most unabashedly violent bout on the card.
AEW officials have expertly weaved the three wrestlers' stories, beginning at Double or Nothing, with Havoc stapling a cigarette to Janela's head and following with the aforementioned dissension that led to their downfall against Shawn Spears, MJF and Sammy Guevara in a six-man tag team match.
Allin was the recipient of considerable rub back at Fyter Fest, when he fought Cody to a 20-minute time limit draw. That sort of booking would suggest management has considerable plans for Allin and considers him one of the faces of its future.
With that said, Janela is one of the hottest stars in the industry thanks to his work with GCW, his concert exploits with the former Enzo Amore and an online war of words with Jim Cornette. Throw in a jaw-dropping war with Jon Moxley at Fyter Fest, and you have a guy who is white-hot.
Havoc is the wild card. Does AEW have considerable plans for the veteran, or is he a recognizable name signed to bolster the roster to help build the foundation of its future?
Taking everything into consideration, Janela's relatively high-profile status makes him the favorite to leave All Out with his arm raised in victory. Allin and Havoc, meanwhile, could continue their rivalry into the TNT era of AEW.
Cody vs. Shawn Spears
"A good hand."
That was the phrase used by Cody to describe Shawn Spears upon the announcement of The Perfect 10's signing with AEW. Little did he know that the innocent label would spark the end of his friendship with the WWE export, bringing about a rivalry that has resulted in the most emotionally intense match of the All Out card.
A sickening chair shot by Spears ignited the war at Fyter Fest. He fanned the flames by introducing longtime Rhodes rival Tully Blanchard as his new manager/advisor. Together, they will enter All Out looking to sour what should be a monumental night for the EVP of AEW.
In picking a winner, there are two factors to consider.
One, what is Spears' role with the company? If he is to be a significant, main event competitor in AEW, he needs this win to earn some credibility with fans. Like it or not, through no fault of his own, there is still a large portion of the audience that sees him as the undercard star he was in WWE.
A win over Cody on a stage as enormous as All Out changes that. Defeating one of the faces of the company earns him a level of credibility that allows him to step out of the shadow of Tye Dillinger and rewrite the narrative of his legacy.
Two, is the feud expected to continue beyond All Out?
If so, Spears needs the win to maintain his momentum. A loss effectively ends the program and provides Cody and his fans with a happy ending. Spears winning gives his rival purpose going forward into television era of AEW.
Taking all of that into consideration, this should be one instance when bad triumphs over good. Or, in Cody's case, less bad.
Escalera de la Muerte for the AAA World Tag Team Championship
The Young Bucks have been dominant in AEW, defeating The Lucha Bros' Pentagon Jr. and Ray Fenix at Double or Nothing in Las Vegas in May and again in a six-man tag team match at Fyter Fest.
The luchadores returned the favor in Mexico, defeating the Jackson brothers to capture the AAA World Tag Team Championship. Riding high on their victory, Pentagon and Fenix rolled into Fight for the Fallen, defeated SCU and issued a challenge to the Bucks for a ladder match at All Out.
Now, one of the great tag team rivalries of the past five years will culminate in a death-defying match likely to feature spots unlike any we have witnessed before.
While The Bucks are both EVPs and faces of AEW, their dominance over Pentagon and Fenix to this point in the company's young history would suggest The Lucha Bros have to win here to maintain a level of competitiveness.
Those unfamiliar with the AAA matches against the Bucks know only Matt and Nick's wins over them. They know only the one-sidedness of the feud. With the champions signed to exclusive American contracts with AEW, they need the win to establish themselves as more than the Bucks' crash test dummies.
They get it in Chicago.
Prediction: The Lucha Bros
Best Friends vs. The Dark Order
The Dark Order debuted in Las Vegas, beating down Chuck Taylor and Trent Barreta following a hard-fought win over Angelico and Jack Evans. Since then, Evil Uno and Stu Grayson have targeted the Best Friends while simultaneously establishing themselves as one of the elite teams in the young AEW tag division.
At All Out, they battle for a first-round bye in the AEW tag team title tournament.
Taylor and Barreta's work in AEW has been a ton of fun. Their matches against the aforementioned Angelico and Evans, as well as opposite Private Party and SCU, have been barnburners that injected the shows with energy. With that said, they feel like foil for The Dark Order, a team that appears en route to a significant push.
It will be a fun match that captivates fans, but the outcome has never been in doubt.
Prediction: The Dark Order
Jon Moxley vs. Kenny Omega
Jon Moxley's shocking AEW debut at Double or Nothing was eclipsed by his brutal assault of Kenny Omega, sparking a rivalry that has spread across AEW events.
Moxley rides a wave of momentum into Chicago after his buzzed-about introduction, an explosive Talk Is Jericho interview and his appearance in New Japan Pro-Wrestling's G-1 Climax. Since arriving in the upstart company in May, he has arguably been wrestling's hottest star. He has not gone unscathed, though.
At Fyter Fest, just moments after a victory over Joey Janela in an unsanctioned match, Moxley found himself under attack by Omega. The Best Bout Machine returned the favor, driving him through a table with a double stomp and proving he is willing to sink to unfamiliar depths to defeat his new rival.
On Episode 5 of Road to All Out, Omega referred to Moxley as "damaged goods," hinting at the WWE experience that left him a shell of the man he was upon entering McMahonland. The Cleaner's words reflect a confident, bordering on arrogant competitor who is sure he can halt the mania of Moxley and leave The Death Rider defeated in Chicago.
The match will likely be a chaotic piece of art that meshes Omega's incredible timing and athleticism with Moxley's freneticism. After suffering a loss to Chris Jericho at Double or Nothing, Omega recovered to defeat CIMA at Fight for the Fallen, while Moxley's one match in AEW ended in victory over Janela.
While Omega is one of the faces of the promotion and figures to be prominent as AEW takes over TNT every Wednesday night with its weekly television program, Moxley is a headline-grabbing name and will parlay that attention into a victory.
Riho vs. Hikaru Shida
It was clear from the moment Japanese competitors took to the square circle at Double or Nothing in May that Hikaru Shida was originally intended to be the star of the contingent. She was presented at the forefront of the babyface team and scored the pinfall victory in the night's six-woman tag team match.
Since then, though, one of her partners, Riho, has broken out and become one of the pleasant surprises of AEW. Appearing on all three of the company's live event spectaculars, she has become a fan favorite.
This is one of the more intriguing matches on the card because the winner is less obvious than in other bouts. Shida is still a wildly talented competitor whom management is clearly high on. She has been a member of the AEW roster from the beginning and is a clear focal point in the women's division, even though her appearances have been limited.
Riho has not received the type of attention her opponent has but has stood out in every match in which she appeared and has developed a cult following based on her in-ring exploits.
She probably should win, but Shida feels the more likely pick here.
AEW Championship Match: Hangman Page vs. Chris Jericho
The main event of All Out will crown the first AEW world heavyweight champion, as Chris Jericho battles Casino Battle Royale winner "Hangman" Adam Page.
The self-absorbed Jericho has repeatedly taken credit for AEW's success, repeatedly demanding a thank you for drawing crowds and securing the television deal with TNT. His victory over Kenny Omega in Las Vegas earned him the opportunity to challenge for the title and potentially inflate his ego even further by etching his name in the history books.
Page earned the main event slot by defeating 20 other wrestlers in the inaugural AEW contest, overcoming a knee injury to secure the victory. He followed that up with a hard-fought win over Kip Sabian at Fight for the Fallen but fell prey to a beatdown that left him bloodied at the hands of his All Out opponent.
Now, Page not only seeks a measure of revenge but also the history-making title win that will catapult him to the top of the industry and establish him as the brightest young star in the business.
That is what makes this match so compelling.
Page has never competed in a match of this magnitude. Not in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Nor in Ring of Honor. Yet he is more than capable of delivering the type of performance that one would associate with a world heavyweight champion.
We have seen it before. He is a talented, athletic worker who has excelled against performers of various styles. From a character standpoint, he broke out on Being the Elite . He has the tools to be champion and guide AEW to the promised land.
Yet with all of that said, the August 31 event feels like it will be Jericho's latest coronation.
The future Hall of Famer essentially spurned WWE CEO Vince McMahon's handshake deal to work for AEW, taking a huge risk to be one of the featured performers in the upstart promotion. While he has yet to be publicly thanked by Cody, The Young Bucks or Kenny Omega from a storyline standpoint, the opportunity to stand atop the AEW mountain as its first champion, thus adding another incomparable honor to his already jam-packed resume, feels like the tip of the cap he deserves.
Plus, Jericho is the type of star the company would want at its forefront to help draw viewers to the debut episode of its TV product.