AEW Fight for the Fallen 2020 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2020

AEW Fight for the Fallen 2020 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: AEW

    The final installment of a three-week stretch of pay-per-view quality episodes of All Elite Wrestling Dynamite took place Wednesday on TNT when the company presented Fight for the Fallen.

    The massive event, featuring AEW World and TNT Championship defenses, continued a summer full of high-stakes in-ring action.

    Would any titles switch hands, what would the night's outcomes have in store for those involved and more importantly, what do they mean for the future of the promotion?

    Find out with this recap of the July 15 broadcast.

Match Card

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    Matches announced for Wednesday's blockbuster broadcast included:

       

    • AEW World Championship Match: Jon Moxley vs. Brian Cage
    • TNT Championship Match: Cody vs. Sonny Kiss
    • Six-Man Tag Team Match: The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks) vs. Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt)
    • FTR vs. The Lucha Bros

        

    Beyond the war between Jon Moxley and Brian Cage, the battle between FTR and Lucha Bros appeared to be the most interesting. Two of the most celebrated and decorated teams of their generation, they have never competed against each other. This was a dream match that fans could only have imagined a few months ago.

    That dream became a reality this week in a match that had the potential to steal the show.

TNT Championship Match: Cody vs. Sonny Kiss

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    Credit: AEW

    In the biggest match of his young career, Sonny Kiss challenged Cody for the TNT Championship in the night's first match.

    The American Nightmare caught Kiss with a Disaster Kick early but could only keep his opponent down for a count of two as the cameraman caught Tully Blanchard watching from the stands.

    Fired up by some motivational words from coach Arn Anderson, Cody applied the Full Nelson in his search for a submission victory.

    Kiss fought out and fired off a flurry of offense, including a hurricanrana and a cartwheel axe kick Excalibur labeled "Axes and Os." A missed splitting leg drop halted the challenger's momentum but Kiss recovered and delivered his own version of Cross Rhodes for a near-fall.

    A 450 splash by Kiss earned another two-count.

    The fight spilled onto the ramp, where Cody delivered an Alabama Slam. The champion made a mental error, though, pinning Kiss too close to the bottom rope, which allowed the challenger to drape his foot over it to force the break.

    Cody broke out a Vertebreaker for a near-fall as frustration visibly set in. He added a superplex but Kiss kicked out again as Jim Ross continued the narrative that the champion was off his game, even executing sloppy pin-falls.

    Cody countered a roll-up into a crossface and appeared disgusted when referee Aubrey Edwards forced him to break the hold. With the top turnbuckle exposed, Kiss reversed the champion's momentum, sending him face-first into it and scoring another close two-count.

    Kiss fired off some strikes but Cody countered into Cross Rhodes to score the successful title defense.

            

    Result

    Cody defeated Kiss

               

    Grade

    B

            

    Analysis

    Excalibur made a great point after the match, suggesting the pace Cody set for himself as TNT champion might be catching up with him.

    That was certainly a story that played out over the course of the contest as Cody grew more and more frustrated with every near-fall. He entered the match as the clear favorite but found out quickly that Kiss was going to throw everything he had at the champion in the biggest opportunity of his career.

    From Anderson chewing him out at ringside, to Ross and the commentary team critiquing the little mistakes he made throughout, Cody told the story of a champion whose own hubris and potential burnout is slowly getting the better of him.

    We already heard the second-generation star knock on The Elite for not having his back. Given his actions in this one at different points, one has to wonder how long it will be until The American Nightmare undergoes a full heel turn.

    Major props to Kiss, who turned in a performance reflecting the enormity of the moment.

    This was easily his best match to date in AEW, and he never looked nervous or overwhelmed. He was crisp, showed great fire and was great as the plucky underdog doing just enough to stay in the fight.

    Who knows what the future holds for Kiss, but he certainly earned another look with his performance here.

FTR vs. The Lucha Bros

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    Credit: AEW

    Two of the best tag teams in professional wrestling battled in the second match of the night as The Lucha Bros' Pentagon Jr. and Rey Fenix, accompanied into the arena by The Butcher and The Blade, battled FTR's Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler.

    The Lucha Bros cut a frenetic pace early, looking to use their speed advantage to catch FTR off-guard. Harwood and Wheeler downed Fenix, though, and utilized quick tags to seize control of the match as Blanchard again watched from the stands.

    During the break, Pentagon and Fenix wrestled control of the match. Harwood again turned the tide coming out of the commercial, flattening Pentagon with a clothesline and sending Fenix face-first into the turnbuckle.

    The Lucha Bros answered with a flurry of double-team moves on Wheeler, forcing him onto the defensive. Harwood re-entered the match just in time for both teams to catch the other midflight with knees to the midsection.

    Wheeler caught Pentagon with an uncharacteristic tope suicida into a DDT, and Fenix answered with some aerial offense of his own. 

    The breakdown of action allowed Harwood to yank at Fenix's mask and score a cradle for the hard-fought, and resourceful, victory.

    After the match, FTR talked trash with The Butcher and The Blade, who turned around into a Superkick Party, courtesy of The Young Bucks.

    Kenny Omega and the Bucks hit the ring offered beers to the victors, only for Harwood and Wheeler to pour them over The Cleaner's head.

          

    Result

    FTR defeated The Lucha Bros

             

    Grade

    B+

               

    Analysis

    It was not quite the classic match we expected but this was still very good.

    Harwood and Wheeler proved they could hang with the most dynamic tag team in All Elite Wrestling and even stepped out of their comfort zone for more than a few spots.

    The finish was clever and allowed Lucha Bros to save face in defeat. Excalibur did a great job of putting over the underhanded nature of Harwood going for Fenix's mask, thus making an excuse for the defeat. That will allow fans to see Fenix and Pentagon as top contenders while FTR continues to move up the ranks.

    The post-match events, with the victors humiliating and disrespecting Omega and the Bucks, only adds to the tension between the sides and conceivably sets FTR on a collision course with both the Bucks and AEW tag team champions Omega and Hangman Page.

Chris Jericho Has Something to Say

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    Credit: AEW

    Chris Jericho and The Inner Circle made their way to the ring and Le Champion wasted little time bragging about his victory over Orange Cassidy and touting his “victory” in the television ratings demographic ("I am the demo-god”).

    Despite advertisers, fans and management wanting a rematch, Jericho denied it and declared Cassidy’s career "dead."

    Freshly Squeezed interrupted, entering through the stands and staring the heels down. Jericho continued to talk until Cassidy delivered a thumbs down.

    Orange juice spilled from the rafters, dousing The Inner Circle and leaving Jericho irate over his ruined, $7,000 jacket.

            

    Grade

    C

              

    Analysis

    There were two things about this segment that didn’t really land as well as they may have conceptually.

    First, Jericho talking TV ratings felt super-defensive. It felt like a company having a hard time coming to odds with the fact that it has lost three straight weekly ratings battles and rather than focusing on turning the tide, they opted to hit critics with a "but actually..."

    Second, going through all the trouble to rig the orange juice and get The Inner Circle into position, then provide the distraction and do the whole "thumbs down" shebang feels way too complicated for Cassidy. There’s too much effort that goes into that and that is off-brand, for sure.

    The silver lining? A Cassidy-Jericho rematch seems like a sure thing and given how extraordinary their battle a week ago was, that is a very good thing.

Jurassic Express vs. The Elite

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    Credit: AEW

    Two of the most popular trios in the industry battled as The Elite’s Kenny Omega, Matt and Nick Jackson squared off with Jurassic Express’ Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt.

    Stunt frustrated Omega early as Chris Jericho, on commentary, mentioned his longtime rival taking his smaller opponent lightly by wearing a T-shirt. Frustrated, Omega tore off the shirt, but Jurassic Express remained in control as Hangman Page watched on a monitor elsewhere.

    The Elite turned the tide, with Omega wiping the opposition out with a plancha. The more experienced team worked over Jungle Boy during the commercial.

    A perfectly timed tag to Luchasaurus sparked a comeback for the underdogs. The massive masked man showed off his incomparable athleticism and chokeslammed Nick. A standing moonsault followed but Omega broke up the pin.

    Luchasaurus rocked Omega with a headbutt but The Cleaner answered with consecutive V-Triggers. He dropped the larger competitor with a snapdragon suplex, then did the same to Stunt and Jungle Boy. The trio recovered and delivered The Extinction Event to Omega. The Bucks broke up the pin.

    Jungle Boy delivered a huge hurricanrana from the top rope and Stunt followed with a 450 splash for two. In an unbelievable spot, Stunt delivered a destroyer piledriver off the shoulders of Luchasaurus, onto Matt Jackson for a near-fall.

    Omega delivered V-Triggers to Luchasaurus and Stunt, then put the smallest wrestler in AEW away with the One-Winged Angel for the win.

    After the match, a pissed-off Omega added some extra right hands to Stunt, much to the dismay of the Bucks. He lowered himself into a corner and could be seen talking to himself.

              

    Result

    The Elite defeated Jurassic Express

             

    Grade

    A

            

    Analysis

    As if the non-stop action of the match wasn't enough, the post-match developments certainly earned the grade.

    The chemistry between these two teams was off the chart as everything was seamless and crisp. There was no room for error in at least half of the spots, and the teams pulled them off spectacularly. The destroyer by Stunt was a great moment, and his plucky run late against Omega was fantastic stuff that had fans thinking he might pull off an inconceivable upset.

    And it was absolutely needed in order to tell the second part of the story after the bell.

    Omega has spent the better part of the last year being walked over. First it was Jericho, then Moxley. Next it was PAC and then his own tag team partner Page. Now, it's FTR.

    After having beer poured on him, it unleashed a beast in Omega that the rest of AEW may not be ready for. Stunt was the wrong wrestler at the wrong time.

    Don't be surprised if there are more who incur the wrath of Omega going forward as his partnership with Page appears to be reaching a crescendo.

Nightmare Sisters vs. MJ Jenkins and Kenzi Page

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    Credit: AEW

    Dustin Rhodes accompanied The Nightmare Sisters' Brandi Rhodes and Allie to the squared circle for their first official appearance on Dynamite as a tag team.

    The initially hesitant partners looked to continue their winning ways as they battled the team of MJ Jenkins and Kenzie Page. And they did just that.

    Allie scored the pin on Jenkins with a reverse DDT/elbow combination.

    Moments after the match, Dasha introduced former AEW women's champion Nyla Rose. After being questioned on who her new manager is, she introduced Vickie Guerrero, who issued a warning to the rest of the division.

           

    Result

    Nightmare Sisters defeated Page and Jenkins

              

    Grade

    C

             

    Analysis

    As a squash, this was fun and energetic.

    Rhodes and Allie showed some solid chemistry as a team and may just find the success they didn't as singles competitors.

    Shout out to Jenkins, who was underutilized in NXT and hopefully gets an opportunity to showcase her skills on Dynamite down the line.

    As for Guerrero's introduction as Rose's manager, she has always been an incredibly valuable performer. As a heel in WWE, she rose to the occasion more times than not and was as responsible for Edge developing into the smarmy heel main eventer he became during the height of his run on SmackDown.

    While it will be difficult to repeat that level of success, Guerrero could be a great asset for Rose as she seeks a second reign as AEW women's champion.

AEW Championship Match: Jon Moxley vs. Brian Cage

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    Credit: AEW

    "The Machine" Brian Cage had won the Casino Ladder match at Double or Nothing in May to earn a shot at the AEW world champion Jon Moxley.

    But the unhinged antihero warned Cage he was swimming with a different breed of shark by fighting him, and they finally clashed in the much-anticipated contest Wednesday night.

    The action was nonstop from the get-go, with Moxley looking to establish his fearlessness while Cage sought to establish physical dominance over the champion.

    Moxley repeatedly sought an armbar but Cage pounded his way out with massive right hands to the face. Moxley set up a guardrail against the ring apron and looked for a suplex. The Machine countered, delivering a sickening German suplex into the steel barricade as the show headed to its final break of the night.

    Back from the commercial, Cage applied a torture rack and drove Moxley into the mat out of it with a neckbreaker. Moxley fired off a few roll-ups and some hard rights but Cage drove him back to the ground with a powerslam.

    Cage took a risk and paid for it, nursing his knee and allowing Moxley to rally off some dropkicks and knees to the face. The challenger escaped the Paradigm Shift and delivered a big knee. Moxley finally delivered the Paradigm Shift but Cage kicked out.

    The champion applied a kimura arm bar in a bid to force a submission but Cage powered out and sent Moxley into the corner. He followed with a superplex from the apron, all the way into the ring. Moxley escaped the Drill Claw and reapplied the armbar, only to find resistance from Cage.

    Cage tried to fight his way out of the hold, but Moxley shifted his weight and maintained control. He floated over and applied the hold to the other arm, trying to take away Cage’s massive arms.

    Taz, frazzled by what he watched play out before him, threw in the towel and preserved his client’s health even though it meant giving Moxley the win.

    After the match, Cage attacked Moxley with the FTW Championship, only for the lights to go out. When they came on, Darby Allin returned and blasted The Machine with a skateboard to the throat.

            

    Result

    Moxley defeated Cage

               

    Grade

    B

           

    Analysis

    Taz sacrificed the battle in the name of the war.

    From a storytelling standpoint, it was a sound booking decision: Cage preserves his heat having not officially lost, while Moxley holds onto the title for the time being. It all makes sense, but it still felt like a bit of a flat finish for a match that had been so enormously hyped over the last month.

    The action that preceded it was good, if unspectacular, and provided Fight for the Fallen a solid main event. Again, it just felt lackluster in comparison to the amount of effort that went into promoting the contest.

    The positive? Allin’s return.

    From the minute Cage and Taz cost him the win at Double or Nothing, it was only a matter of time before he returned for revenge. If that was ultimately the direction things were heading, why not have Allin cost Cage and set up their match?

    That way, The Machine still saves face and we transition into the match AEW officials appear to want most from all of this.

    As it is, Fight for the Fallen was a great night of pro wrestling, enhanced by the superb tag team action and the character teases for both Omega and Cody.