It was unquestionably the most anticipated wrestling PPV in decades. All Elite Wrestling had more hype than any company has every experienced and for their first official show expectations were high, very high. They had to make a statement this past Saturday in front of a white hot, sold-out crowd in Las Vegas. To quote the debuting Jon Moxley, May 25th was indeed a Paradigm shift! Let’s breakdown all the relevant happenings from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
AEW made it very clear in the run-up to this event that they would be placing a major emphasis on tag team wrestling and that was evident throughout the whole evening. Teams such as SCU, Best Friends and the team of Jack Evans and Angelico were given the time to shine and put on incredible performances in their respective matches. Add the surprise appearance of longtime Indy favourites Super Smash Bros and already the seeds have been laid for what could be an incredible AEW tag team division.
The pre-show featured the Casino Battle Royal and was full of stars and future main eventers. The likes of Billy Gunn, Shawn Spears, and Tommy Dreamer mixed it up with future AEW main eventers like the incredibly old school heel MJF, Luchasaurus, and eventual winner Hangman Page. It was obvious here, combining the later involvement of none other than Bret Hart, that AEW is setting the stage for the young and in part unknown talents to rise to the occasion the demand the spotlight.
Women were given the spotlight in several parts of the show, which is a testament to AEW’s commitment to creating a competitive women’s division. The shocking appearance of Awesome Kong and vignette hyping the future debut of the impressive Sadie Gibbs added to the lustre of what looks to be a fantastic future for the female stars of AEW.
The battle of the Rhodes Brothers was a masterpiece. Yes, that is a hell of a claim to make but we dare you to say otherwise. Featuring career-defining performances by both men, it almost felt like we were back in the 80s to the glory days of the NWA. Emotional and compelling, this match laid out the blueprint for match quality going forward. As for the pre-match throne crushing by Cody, how could you not pop for that?!?!
When 2019 ends and we ask ourselves what was the best tag match of the year, we will all bring up The Young Bucks vs Pentagon Jr and Rey Fenix. From a traditional tag team wrestling standpoint, the psychology may not have been the best but from a double team and high spot standpoint, this was an epic war of attrition. It is safe to say that tag team wrestling truly is back in AEW.
The main event was a full-on, gruelling encounter between Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho. Fluid, engaging and with plenty of action, this was a tremendous contest with both men leaving it all in the ring. Then Jon Moxley showed up. Genuine surprises are rare these days in wrestling but seeing him enter the arena from the crowd definitely felt like an OMG moment. The post-match interaction with both Omega and Jericho has set up future, potential main events and with talks of an imminent show over here in the UK, we could very well see one of those matches on our side of the pond. Add in the now future AEW title match between Jericho and Hangman Page, the main event scene is already looking pretty stacked.
A near flawless night of action for their inaugural show has given All Elite Wrestling an incredible start on their road to offering an alternative for fans all over the world. We will be there every step of the way!!!