By Gwen Lombard
This past weekend saw two Pay-Per-Views, World Wrestling Entertainment’s Payback, and All Elite Wrestling’s All Out, the latter of which was the follow-up from a historic, record-setting Pay-Per-View All In: London on August 27th.
Payback saw Finn Bálor and Damien Priest of the Judgement Day utilize their numbers advantage over Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in their Steel City Street Fight, winning the Undisputed World Tag Team Championships in a surprising turn of events. In recent weeks, Bálor and Priest have found it near impossible to get on the same page with each other yet they bring tag team gold to the Judgement Day faction, joining Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley who retained her title against Raquel Rodrigez, and NXT North American Champion Dominik Mysterio. I have to recommend this Street Fight for the Tag Team titles as my match of the night.
Later in the night, Seth Rollins retained his World Heavyweight Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura in a heated and emotional battle, centered around Nakamura targeting Seth’s injured back. This match was spectacular, as was expected from two wrestlers who are touted as two of the best of our generation. Though the match for Tag Team titles is my recommendation of the night, this one is a very close second.
Heading into All Out, arguably the most prominent news story of the week was that AEW announced they terminated CM Punk’s contract late Friday afternoon. This was not a big surprise after the numerous backstage incidents involving Punk. However, many fans wondered how AEW would proceed, considering they were angling CM Punk into a high-profile feud with Samoa Joe for the “Real” World Championship. To remedy this sudden change, they placed Samoa Joe in a match against Shane Taylor for Joe’s Ring Of Honor Television Title. A solid match between two heavyweights, and a great showing for Shane Taylor on his first AEW Pay-Per-View.
Bryan Danielson made his victorious return to the ring after being sidelined with a broken arm since Forbidden Door two months ago. Ricky Starks challenged wrestling legend Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat to a strap match at All Out, but was tricked into signing a contract for a match against ‘The Dragon’. Bryan Danielson ‘The American Dragon’ came out, and put on an absolute clinic of a match against Ricky Starks. Being a strap match, a twenty-foot leather strap was tied around each man’s wrist and was able to be utilized against his opponent. Bryan is a sadistic wrestler, and a technician to boot. This was a brutal and terrifying match, and highlighted Bryan’s abilities, as he’s only two months removed from breaking his arm, and he’s already able to put on such a high-quality match.
My match of the night however has to be the main event between Jon Moxley and Orange Cassidy for the AEW International Championship. This match revolved around champion Cassidy’s failing body as he’s been defending this title almost weekly since October 12th of last year. He’s been racking up numerous injuries over the months but has refused to take time off to heal them. This match saw Moxley, one of the most brutal and sadistic wrestlers in AEW, try to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. By the end of this nearly 20-minute match, both men were bloodied and bruised, but Cassidy couldn’t manage to rally again, and his body couldn’t take anymore. Jon Moxley won with his Deathrider DDT and is the new AEW International Champion. This defeat did not tarnish Cassidy though, as Moxley had to work incredibly hard to finally get the three count when Cassidy’s body was as battered as it was headed into the match. Once Cassidy has time to heal those injuries, perhaps a rematch will be in the cards and Moxley will have to see if his severity and brutality can keep a 100% Orange Cassidy down.