Fyter Fest: Night One kicked off a two-week AEW event.
The stakes were high, as AEW promised a PPV-level card for the next two weeks. They were made even higher when NXT elected to counter-program with their own two-week show, The Great American Bash.
Three titles were on the line at Fyter Fest: Night One. Cody put his coveted TNT Championship on the line against Jake Hager. Elsewhere, Hikaru Shida and Penelope Ford faced off for the AEW Women’s Championship. In the main event, ‘Hangman’ Adam Page and Kenny Omega defended their tag team titles against Best Friends.
On paper, you’d swear it was a PPV.
But did AEW deliver with Fyter Fest: Night One?
By the way, I’m not doing hits-and-misses for Fyter Fest: Night One. AEW has been hyping this like a PPV, so I’m gonna treat it as such.
MJF and Wardlow are set to kick the show off with a match against Jurassic Express. But surely no one expected MJF to not talk, right?
Once Le Champion Chris Jericho gets situated at the commentary table (sporting a gloriously-awful Canada-themed blazer) and calls Excalibur an idiot eight or nine times, MJF grabs the mic.
The Salt of the Earth laments having to even wrestle the match. He’s already beaten Jungle Boy. And Wardlow already beat Luchasaurus. So why this match?
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I wanna see this match. But dude’s got a point. MJF figures the only reason is because AEW wants to win a ratings war. And the only way to do it is to put MJF on the front lines. Okay, nobody show Max the overnights, please.
Jurassic Express (W/ Marko Stunt) Vs. MJF & Wardlow
Jungle Boy runs straight at MJF to open the match at Fyter Fest: Night One. He goes for a reverse rana on MJF, but Wardlow runs over and saves his boss with a boot to Jungle Boy’s face. MJF hits a snap full nelson suplex and taunts Luchasaurus. It distracts the referee and lets Wardlow choke Jungle Boy.
Wardlow tags in and lays the boots to Jungle Boy. MJF makes his way back in but gets his head whipped into the turnbuckle. Jungle Boy hits an enziguri on MJF and makes for his corner, but MJF catches him with a side headlock. The tag is made, but the referee is distracted, so it doesn’t count. A sidewalk slam from MJF gets two, and Wardlow tags back in and hits a backdrop suplex. Another tag to MJF, and the heels are running the show. They go for a double suplex, but Jungle Boy rolls out and makes the tag. And DINO-MANIA’S RUNNIN’ WILD, BROTHER!
It’s overhead throws for everybody, plus a kick straight to MJF’s face followed by a pair of superkicks to Wardlow. Luchasaurus sweeps the leg (Johnny) to dispatch with Wardlow. He throws MJF into the corner, and Wardlow makes the blind tag. The big guys slug it out, and Luchasaurus hits a flying sidekick only for Wardlow to counter with a suplex. Luchasaurus strikes back with a spinning DDT, and both guys tag in their partners. Jungle Boy clotheslines MJF over the top and follows with Ye Olde Tope Suicida. He hits a second before nailing a rana over the top rope.
But before Jungle Boy can get back into the ring, Wardlow chokeslams him over the barricade only to take a rana from Luchasaurus. This match is killer.
Back inside, the Express double-teams MJF and hits a tandem cutter, but Wardlow breaks up the pin. Wardlow tries to throw Luchasaurus over the top, but the dinosaur escapes. Jungle Boy runs in to make the save. Wardlow sets up for the F-10, but Jungle Boy escapes and hits a huricanrana for two. All four guys are down, and the referee starts the 10-count. Everybody kips up, and Jungle Boy hits a Canadian Destroyer on MJF before leaping at Wardlow. The big man catches him, but Marko Stunt makes the save only to get tossed at Jungle Boy.
MJF goes for a pin on Luchasaurus but it only gets two. He tags in Wardlow, who goes for a senton atomico, but Luchasaurus kicks out. Seriously, this is insane. MJF pulls out the Diamond Dozen ring, while Wardlow holds Luchasaurus for him. Luchasaurus ducks out, and MJF hits Wardlow. Jungle Boy goes for a rana but Wardlow throws him off. But that lets Luchasaurus hits a chokeslam followed by a standing rana for the pin.
What an insane opener for Fyter Fest: Night One.
Winners: Jurassic Express
Match Rating: **** 1/4
Shenanigans, Part One
It maybe Fyter Fest: Night One. But it wouldn’t be a show in AEW: Dynamite‘s timeslot without shenanigans.
First, they advertise that Fyter Fest: Night Two will feature a Puppy Battle Royale. I mean. Okay? Wait. What?
At ringside, Lance Archer talks smack at Joey Janela and Sonny Kiss ahead of his match with Janela next week.
Jake Roberts is about as effective at breaking it up as you’d expect a 238-year-old man to be.
AEW Women’s Championship Match – Hikaru Shida (C) Vs. Penelope Ford (W/ Kip Sabian)
Fyter Fest: Night One rolls on with Hikaru Shida putting her title on the line. Nice video package ahead of the match, tracking Shida’s title win at Double Or Nothing and Ford’s road to a title shot.
Jim Ross accuses Jericho of stealing one of Don Cherry’s jackets. Heh. I get that. That’s funny.
In the ring, both women get into a shoving match to start. Referee Aubrey Edwards immediately ejects Sabian from ringside. So Sabian takes Shida’s kendo stick with him. The bell rings, and Shida hits a running knee right off the bat. Shida goes for the Falcon Arrow, but Ford evades. Shida introduces Ford’s face to the turnbuckle, but Ford gets a near-fall. The champ whips Ford toward the ropes, but Ford slides underneath. Shida follows up with a baseball slide, and they brawl on the outside.
Ford rolls back inside to break up the count, but Shida is ready for her. She hits the running knee to the face with Ford draped on the apron. Back in the ring, Shida continues the beatdown. She whips Ford into the corner, but Ford counters. The challenger gets draped over the turnbuckle, but Shida can’t take advantage. Ford lures her in and hits a kick to the head. The challenger takes over and hits a somersault back elbow followed by a running boot to the jaw. A German suplex from Ford follows, but it only gets two.
When Fyter Fest: Night One returns from commercial, Ford is firmly in control. A DDT from the challenger only gets a two-count. Ford goes back to the well and tries the somersault stunner, but Shida counters with a sleeper. She turns that into a pair of backbreakers, but she can’t put the challenger away.
Shida hits the Falcon Arrow, but Ford turns it into a roll-up for a two-count. The champion goes for a missile dropkick, but Ford catches her with a STUNNER BAH GAWD out of nowhere for two.
Sabian runs back out with the kendo stick, distracting the champ and giving Ford an opening for another stunner, but it only gets two. The challenger goes for a moonsault and misses it. I mean, she missed it by. A. Lot. It wasn’t a botch, but it’s hard to suspend disbelief on that one.
Another Falcon Arrow gets two, and Shida can’t believe it. The announcers freak out that nobody kicks out of the Falcon Arrow. Um. Ford did, like, three minutes ago. A running knee puts Ford away, and Shida retains. This was a really good Fyter Fest: Night One match. Ford needs to stay in the mix, because this was a star-making match.
Winner (And STILL Champion): Hikaru Shida
Match Rating: *** 3/4
TNT Championship Match – Cody (C) Vs. Jake Hager (W/ Catalina)
Cody wears a GAB-themed shirt that throws shade at WWE. “Wait,” you say. “Cody did something petty?”
I know, this changes everything.
“Hager’s undefeated in AEW,” Jericho says. “Aside from a blemish that I don’t recognize.”
Justin Roberts introduces Hager as ‘Rock Hard’ Jake Hager. Um. Gross. Also, so we’re really not even gonna look into Justin Roberts? At all? Sigh.
A pair of lock-ups to start. Hager breaks it up with a back elbow, and Cody comes off the ropes only to get shoved down by the challenger. Cody stalls before going for another lock-up. He goes for a single-leg takedown, but Hager blocks. A side headlock follows from the champion, but Hager escapes and throws Cody into the ropes for a shoulder tackle. Hager catches Cody in mid-air and forces him into the corner. The challenger goes for some heavy strikes to Cody’s gut before choking him out in the corner.
Hager whips Cody into the opposite corner, but Cody reverses with a rana, and they trade ankle-locks. Both guys find themselves in a stalemate. Arn talks trash, trying to distract Hager. Cody runs in for the strike, but Hager catches him with a back elbow. Because Hager’s an idiot, he stalks Arn only to get hit with a diving splash from Cody. Back inside, Cody goes for a toehold followed by a Figure Four. Hager makes the ropes but catches a kick off the middle rope from Cody. The champ goes for it again, but Hager catches him and hits a side slam.
On the outside, Hager tries to choke Arn, so Cody hits him with a belly-to-back on the floor. Heh. Jericho calls Arn “Wilford Brimley.” I mean, not even close, but it made me laugh.
It’s picture-in-picture during the break, and both guys just stall through the whole thing. What’s the point? Back inside, Hager hits a body slam followed by a standing elbow drop for a one-count. Cody tries to fight back to his feet, so Hager throws him outside the ring right in front of Catalina who walks right over him. Hager throws the champ back inside and dodges a splash. Cody goes ribs-first into the rope. The beatdown continues, and Hager throws Cody to the outside again. Arn distracts Hager, and Cody throws him face-first into the ring post.
Cody throws the challenger back inside, but Hager locks in a sleeper. The champ pulls out the Bret Hart counter in the turnbuckle for two. Hager locks the sleeper in again, but Cody hits a jawbreaker followed by a springboard cutter. Both guys are down. They get back to their feet, and a powerslam from Cody only gets two. The Hager-Bomb only gets two for the challenger. Hager throws Cody around and goes for a running Hager-Bomb, but Cody gets the boots up and hits a reverse DDT for two.
The champ heads up top, but Hager hits a top-rope arm throw for two. Hager puts on the ankle lock, but Cody makes it to the ropes. So Cataline slaps him and the challenger puts it back on. Dustin runs in and nails Hager while Arn distracts the referee. Cody goes for Crossroads. Hager dodges and goes for the standing triangle, but Cody works it into a cradle for the pin to retain. After the match, Hager beats up the referee.
Well, this was fine. But it was a little plodding, and it didn’t serve to get anybody over at Fyter Fest: Night One.
Winner (And STILL Champion): Cody
Match Rating: ** 1/2
Santana & Ortiz Vs. Private Party (W/ Matt Hardy)
Before Fyter Fest: Night One continues, we get a Darby Allin vignette. He’s still mad about not being medically cleared to wrestle. So he does skateboard tricks. I mean, good on AEW for not letting us forget about Darby, but remember when his vignettes were interesting?
Speaking of interesting, Orange Cassidy comes out and takes a seat beside the announce desk. Much to Le Champion’s chagrin. Cassidy still has blood on his shirt from the fight on last week’s AEW: Dynamite. I mean, in these times? That’s both gross an dangerous. Matt is out in his best 1999 outfit.
Santana and Isaiah Kassidy start, and Santana offers him a free shot. Kassidy takes it and promptly slides out of the ring. Santana gives chase, but Kassidy gets back in the ring and hits a double-foot stomp. Kassidy dives over the top rope and takes out both Inner Circle guys.
Marq Quen tags in and hits a standing moonsault press for one. He hits another one and gets two this time. Kassidy comes back in, and they double-team Santana, hitting an atomic drop into an enziguri for one. With Santana down on the mat, Kassidy lays in the punches, but Santana takes back over and hits some chops. Ortiz stops Kassidy from making a move off the ropes, He tags in and hits a DDT followed by a German Suplex from Santana. Ortiz goes for a Russian legsweep. Kassidy tries to escape, but Ortiz reverses into an octopus.
More chops from Ortiz, and Kassidy is in trouble. The heels double team him in the corner, but Kassidy fights out only for Santana to go for a powerbomb. But Kassidy escapes again and tags in Quen who takes the heels over the top rope before hitting a standing rana over the top rope onto hte floor. Back inside, Santana goes for another powerbomb, but Quen fights out only to take a tandem double stomp from either side. Santana lifts Kassidy in a surfboard while Ortiz locks in a camel clutch on Quen.
Kassidy gets a breather and some coaching from Matt while Ortiz goes to work on Quen. He puts Quen in the surfboard position again and tags in Santana who chops at the trapped Quen. Santana cinches in a standing stretch, but Quen escapes. He makes the hot tag to Kassidy, who rushes the corner to take out Ortiz before laying in the strikes to Santana. Santana throws him off, and Kassidy’s momentum carries him into a stunner on Ortiz. A corkscrew plancha on Santana and Ortiz on the outside follows.
Back inside, Kassidy hits a swanton on Ortiz for two. Quen makes the tag and goes for a top rope huricanrana, but Ortiz fights it off and hits Quen with a Ligber Bomb from the top. Cannonball from Santana follows, and a dual suplex gets two on Quen before Kassidy breaks it up. Santana tosses Kassidy into the barricade on the outside. Ortiz tags him in, but Hardy steals the sack of quarters from Santana. Quen gets a roll-up for two, but Santana fights back with a side kick. Another tag brings Ortiz in, and they go for the Street Sweeper, but Kassidy pulls the bandana down. Private Party hits Gin & Juice and barely gets the three-count before Ortiz can break up the pin.
Not bad, but a little too all over the place on Fyter Fest: Night One.
Winners: Private Party
Match Rating: ***
After The Match
Once the match is over, Jericho’s had all he can stand of Orange Cassidy ignoring him at Fyter Fest: Night One.
Private Party dances in front of Jericho, which angers Le Champion. He leaps out of his seat and lunges at Cassidy, but the whole locker room holds him back. Pineapple Pete holds back Cassidy, who continues to literally do nothing.
Jericho screams like a madman, promising to take out Cassidy at Fyter Fest: Night Two.
I’ve never seen a big match sold with so little effort. This feud has been great, and I hope the blow-off lives up to the hype.
Taz And Brian Cage Promo
So if you thought Cody had the cheap shot of the night at Fyter Fest: Night One? Taz would like you to hold his beer.
He comes out with Brian Cage and announces that Moxley isn’t there. And he announces the AEW Champion won’t defend at Fyter Fest: Night Two. Even though AEW tests weekly because they “don’t run a sloppy shop.” I’m all for taking shots at WWE being horribly irresponsible in its COVID response. But AEW let fans in to sit in some of the higher seats at Daily’s Place. Without testing them. Hopefully AEW didn’t put their foot in their mouth with that quip.
Taz’s point, though, is that Moxley could get tested next week. And he could get tested the week after when AEW: Dynamite has Fight For The Fallen – where Moxley will defend the title for real against Cage.
So the only conclusion Taz can come to is that Moxley’s a coward.
Instead, Private Party gets a shot at the tag team champions at Fyter Fest: Night Two.
AEW Tag Team Championship Match – ‘Hangman’ Adam Page & Kenny Omega (C) Vs. Best Friends
Trent’s mom drops Best Friends off at Fyter Fest: Night One in her minivan. That’s adorable. And weird.
Chuck and Omega do some mat work to start. A couple of exchanges end in a stalemate, and each guy tags in his partner. Trent and the Hangman slug it out, and Trent hits a backdrop driver. He tags Chuck back in, who hits the Hangman with a snap suplex, but it only gets two. But Page calls upon the POWER OF PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS and suplexes Trent before tagging Omega back in.
Omega hits a backbreaker, but it only gets two. Page tags in, and the champs double team Trent culminating in a standing shooting star press from the Hangman. It only gets two. And apparently FTR think Orange Cassidy’s seat was the place to be, so they bring out lawn chairs and a cooler to check out the match.
Trent hits a spinning DDT on Omega, sending him to the outside. Page gets dumped as well, and Chuck hits a tope over the top. The champs fight back, but Trent comes out of nowhere with a tope of his own, sending Page and Omega head-first into the baricade.
Back inside, Page hits a fallaway slam on Trent before leaping over the top and taking out Chuck. Page heads back inside and hits a wicked lariat. He tags Omega, who heads up top and hits a missile double stomp followed by a fisherman’s brainbuster for two. Omega goes for a standing rana, but Trent gets the knees up and tags in Chuck. A spike piledriver gets two for Chuck, as the Hangman breaks up the cover. Chuck tosses Page and rushes Omega, but Omega gets a leg up followed by a back elbow.
A snap dragon suplex from Omega sends Chuck into the corner. Trent tags himself in and eats a snap dragon of his own. Omega tags Page back in, and they go to town on the challengers. Page hits a pop-up powerbomb on Trent, and Omega hits a knee to the back. The Hangman goes for the cover but only gets two. They set Trent up for the Last Call, but Trent dodges and Omega gets pulled out. They hit Strong Zero on Page, but Omega rushes back in to break up the pin. That was close.
Omega goes for one-winged angel, but Chuck reverses into a powerbomb. They go for the Best Friends hug, because they’re idiots, so Page throws Chuck out before setting Trent up for a powerbomb. Trent escapes and goes a destroyer. Page fights him off, but Trent transitions into a sit-out pinfall attempt. It only gets two. Page gets the Deadeye, but Trent kicks out. He follows that up with the Buckshot Lariat for the pin to put Best Friends away to retain.
This was good, but it was a little too even. The challengers looked good, but the champs looked just a touch too human.
Winners (And STILL Champions): ‘Hangman’ Adam Page & Kenny Omega
Match Rating: *** 1/2
After The Match, Part Deux
FTR runs in with a congratulatory beer for the champs. Hangman takes one, because Hangman.
Omega, on the other hand, pours it onto the floor. FTR will not stand for such effrontery, but the Bucks run in to break it up. Page seems genuinely annoyed that Omega wouldn’t just take the beer. Oh, wait. Are we gonna finally follow up on the “will they/won’t they?” from Revolution?
Good way to end the show, leading to the 8-man tag at Fyter Fest: Night Two.
Fyter Fest: Night One was an excellent show from the start, but it started to lose steam.
It’s time for AEW to do something more interesting with Cody. Being the white-meat babyface fighting champion is great and all. But it’s already wearing a bit thin. The opener and the women’s matches were fantastic, but everything that followed ranged from okay to pretty good.
And strictly on paper, this was AEW’s time to shine. Fyter Fest: Night Two has a decent card but nothing to differentiate it from an average episode of AEW: Dynamite.
Nevertheless, a good show is a good show. And if I’m judging this as though it was a PPV, that’s all that matters.
Not a single bad match on Fyter Fest: Night One. And now we wait, more than a little impatiently, for Orange Cassidy vs. Le Champion.
Feature image provided by AEW.
'Fyter Fest: Night One'
- MJF and Wardlow put on a killer opening match
- Penelope Ford just became a star
- Taz with the deep cut
- Orange Cassidy plus Chris Jericho equals awesome
- Cody's getting REALLY directionless
- Hager's becoming a little less impressive with each match