AEW Fyter Fest, Night 1 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJuly 14, 2021

AEW Fyter Fest, Night 1 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    On the heels of a newsworthy episode that saw the debut of Malakai Black, AEW Dynamite presented Fyter Fest Night One Wednesday on TNT, with Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page headlining in the company's first-ever Coffin Match.

    What went down when the face-painted antihero of AEW battled All Ego in a match that sought to bring to an end their months-long rivalry?

    Find out now with this recap of it and the rest of the July 14 broadcast.

Match Card

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    Announced for Wednesday's show are:

       

    • Coffin Match: Darby Allin vs. "All Ego" Ethan Page
    • IWGP United States Championship Match: Jon Moxley vs. Karl Anderson
    • FTW Championship Match: "The Machine" Brian Cage vs. Ricky Starks
    • Christian Cage vs. Matt Hardy
    • Yuka Sakazaki vs. Penelope Ford
    • Sammy Guevara vs. Wheeler Yuta
    • We hear from Hangman Page

       

    Coverage begins at 8 p.m.

IWGP United States Championship Match: Jon Moxley vs. Karl Anderson

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Jon Moxley returned to AEW television for the first time since Double or Nothing, defending his IWGP United States Championship against "Machine Gun" Karl Anderson of The Good Brothers in the night's opening match. Eddie Kingston, Mox's longtime friend and recent tag partner, took out Doc Gallows to ensure a fair fight just seconds into the match.

    Anderson delivered a side suplex to the floor and Moxley answered with unadulterated bites to the face. A superplex from the champion did little to halt Anderson’s drive and determination. The challenger delivered a sit-out tombstone piledriver and added the Gun Stun.

    Moxley weathered the storm, delivered the Paradigm Shift and retained his title.

        

    Result

    Moxley defeated Anderson

        

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    There was no hotter way to kick off this show, in front of a live audience, than with Jon Moxley. The crowd was electric for the US champ and lived and breathed with everything he did. From the opening slugfest with Anderson to the back-and-forth action that followed, they were wholly invested in the night’s first bout.

    Anderson looked like a million dollars, reminding everyone he’s more than one liners and a tag team specialist with The Good Brothers. He is a talented wrestler, with in-ring experience from around the world, and he hung in there with one of the most decorated stars in AEW. He was a revelation for fans who may not be familiar with his in-ring exploits prior to WWE and Impact Wrestling.

    Moxley winning was the right call and sets up a Texas Death Match against Lance Archer as set up by a post-match promo by The Murderhawk Madman. Given their previous encounter in Tokyo, fans should be elated at the idea of them waging war one more time.

FTW Championship Match: Brian Cage vs. Ricky Starks

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    The implosion of Team Taz continued in the night’s second match as “The Machine” Brian Cage defended the unofficial FTW Championship against former teammate “Absolute” Ricky Starks.

    Starks overcame an early onslaught by his opponent and targeted the left bicep of The Machine, all while their closest friends and teammates Hook and Powerhouse Hobbs watched from ringside.

    Late in the match, Absolute attempted to use the FTW title belt as a weapon but Hobbs prevented him from doing so. Cage capitalized on the distracted Starks and delivered an F5. Starks shockingly kicked out at two, leading to Hook distracting the official and Hobbs rocking Cage with the title belt. Starks delivered a spear for the win before Taz and Co. embraced him.

        

    Result

    Starks defeated Cage to win the title

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    The outcome was fairly unsurprising, if only because it seemed like, from the beginning, Taz and his team were growing tired of Cage’s positive change in attitude. Had you insisted that Starks would win with the help of his teammates, it likely would not have stunned too many.

    What did, though, was the overwhelmingly positive reaction for Starks by the fans. Whether they appreciate his talent and charisma, or simply did not like Cage, they were completely behind him as he worked over the monstrous champion and even more so after he delivered the spear that ended The Machine’s reign.

    Cage will absolutely seek revenge and, hopefully, find momentum in his AEW run. To this point, it has been lacking. Perhaps a babyface run will allow him to win over the audience. If that doesn’t, his ability to throw his body through the air despite his immense size certainly will.

Cody Rhodes Calls Out Malakai Black

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Cody Rhodes appeared at the commentary position and called out Malakai Black, one week after the latter made a stunning debut by laying The American Nightmare and coach Arn Anderson out.

    Black spoke to Rhodes via backstage promo and told the story of a horse being put down when he didn’t have it anymore, suggesting Cody no longer had the passion or drive. Infuriated, Rhodes dared Black to join him in the ring. The dark newcomer did and a brawl ensued before security and agents broke things up.

        

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    From the opposing suits (Cody’s white to Malakai’s black) to the ominous words of the heel and the intensity from the babyface, this was extraordinary. The crowd was red hot, the emotions were high and the aggression was just right.

    Black’s character needs to be fleshed out a bit, especially considering how WWE obliterated it creatively. But for a first run that no one saw coming, the excitement generated by the performers and the picture they are painting makes this an easy success.

Hangman Page Speaks, The Elite Responds and a Blockbuster Main Event

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Tony Schiavone hit the ring to interview Hangman Page. Just as everyone’s favorite anxious, millennial cowboy was about to formally challenge Kenny Omega for the AEW World Championship, The Elite made their presence felt.

    Matt Jackson insulted Page, drawing a physical retort. The Dark Order came to Page’s aid before Omega proposed a high-stakes match: a 10-man tag team match in which a loss by the babyfaces would cost both The Dark Order and Page their championship opportunities.

    Page predictably accepted, setting a major main event for later in the night.

        

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    A second promo segment, another bit of excellence. It helps that the live crowd was red-hot for Page and his budding rivalry with Omega. The fans believe in Hangman and genuinely want to see him win the title. The moment he does will be a monumental one, both for the performer and the young history of AEW.

    The match that resulted is a major main event, with high stakes, the sort of thing WWE would book at the height of the Attitude Era in hopes of keeping its audience around. It was refreshing, broke from AEW’s tradition of announcing things a week in advance, and will create a “must-see” feel for the remainder of the show.

Christian Cage vs. Matt Hardy

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Up next, Christian Cage and Matt Hardy wrote the latest chapter in their 23-year feud.

    Hardy controlled the majority of the bout, delivering a modified DDT off the ring apron that drove Captain Charisma into the ring steps. Back from the commercial break, though, Cage fought his way back into the match. He escaped a second Twist of Fate and delivered a nasty spear for two.

    Hardy capitalized on a referee distraction and delivered a low blow to counter the Killswitch. He applied The Leech at ringside but Cage beat the referee’s count and finally delivered the Killswitch for the win.

    After the match, The Hardy Family Office surrounded the ring until Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus made the save.

    A video promo from Miro aired in which he labeled himself The Redeemer. From there, Tony Schiavone introduced AEW women’s champion Dr. Britt Baker DMD for a brief promo on Nyla Rose. Baker, a heel, cut a promo that was mostly babyface but still reminded the audience that she’s mostly an arrogant jerk.

        

    Result

    Cage defeated Hardy

        

    Grade

    C+

       

    Analysis

    Cage and Hardy can have a solid wrestling match in their sleep. They have wrestled each other so often over the last two decades that their chemistry is never in doubt. With that said, the finish was...lacking.

    Cage was completely unconscious while selling Hardy’s submission finisher, only to pop back up like nothing happened and beat the referee’s count. From there, he hit the finish out of nowhere and picked up the win, essentially shrugging off any effects from The Leech and killing that particular finisher dead.

    What was most interesting about all of this was the look on Jungle Boy’s face when his tag team partner hoisted Cage up onto his shoulders, a gesture typically reserved for young Jack Perry. Could this be the first hint that there’s some animosity, jealousy or frustration between Jungle Boy and Captain Charisma? It is a story that bears watching and one that could mean big things for the former.

    The post match video from Miro and the live promo from Baker were both superbly executed and only helped establish them as central figures on a loaded roster.

Sammy Guevara vs. Wheeler Yuta

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Wheeler Yuta made his in-ring debut with AEW, accompanied by Best Friends’ Chuck Taylor and Orange Cassidy, against Inner Circle’s Sammy Guevara.

    The Spanish God wowed early, delivering a shooting star press, but crashed and burned as he landed on the waiting knees of his opponent. Yuta answered with a big splash that connected but the impact caused a delay in the pin that allowed Guevara to kick out.

    Sammy delivered the springboard cutter, executed the GTH and earned the victory. After the match, Guevara showed his opponent considerable respect.

        

    Result

    Guevara defeated Yuta

        

    Grade

    C+

        

    Analysis

    Guevara is one of the hottest competitors in all of AEW and the crowd responded in kind. The Texas fans greeted Guevara as if he was one of the top stars in AEW and he performed up to it. He matched a young, driven Yuta and earned a hard-fought victory.

    This was a showcase for Guevara more than anything, even if his opponent showed the type of in-ring talent that would suggest he is a star of the future. If not for AEW, then someone else.

Yuka Sakazaki vs. Penelope Ford

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    “Magical Girl” Yuka Sakazaki returned to AEW Wednesday night, battling Penelope Ford, who entered the match with a 16-1 record in her last 17 matches, per commentator Excalibur. Sakazaki delivered a senton that stunned the Bad Girl early but Ford seized control entering the commercial break.

    Sakazaki fought back and appeared to be rolling late when Ford rocked her with a pump kick for two. Yuka recovered, delivered the Magical Girl Splash and scored the pinfall victory.

       

    Result

    Sakazaki defeated Ford

        

    Grade

    C

        

    Analysis

    Sakazaki is a strong wrestler and Ford has been growing with leaps and bounds every time she competes in an AEW ring but this never really kicked into the next gear and the result was a perfectly acceptable wrestling match, though nothing else.

    That it likely means nothing for the immediate or long-term future of the women’s division makes its inclusion on the show, as opposed to AEW Dark or Elevation, somewhat curious.

Coffin Match: Darby Allin vs. Ethan Page

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    For the first time ever, two stars waged war in a Coffin Match as Darby Allin battled Ethan Page, the latter vowing to end the man he helped break into the business. Page benefited early from interference from Scorpio Sky, who attacked Allin from out of the coffin before Sting made the save, beating him around the arena.

    Elsewhere in the arena, Allin launched himself at Page from the stands, only to be caught and driven into the metal guardrails. Allin fought back, fish hooked Page’s mouth with the turnbuckle and dropkicked him into the coffin. A bloodied All Ego survived the near defeat and delivered an Ego’s Edge from the top rope and onto the aforementioned ring steps.

    Allin evaded defeat by raking at the face and eyes of Page, grabbed a skateboard and double stomped off the top rope, driving it into Page’s back and the heel into the coffin. The former TNT champion slammed the lid shut and secured the victory. Darby drove his own body through the lid of the coffin with his finisher to put an exclamation point on things.

        

    Result

    Allin defeated Page

        

    Grade

    B

        

    Analysis

    There’s a reason AEW continues to trust Allin in these high-profile matches and it’s because he has an innate ability to deliver. The crowd loves him, he will take any and all risks to ensure they are left with something memorable and he has a star power and charisma that few can tout. This early in his career, he is a bona fide main eventer. Against Page, he delivered all of the wild spots and suffered incredible punishment en route to another come-from-behind victory.

    Page is great and has been for a long time, dating back to his days in Impact Wrestling as one-half of The North. He has absolutely earned the opportunity to thrive on this stage and proved it with his performance tonight.

    The Coffin Drop at the end of the show essentially ended the feud so it will be interesting to watch which direction those involved in the months-long feud head now.

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