Fyter Fest was a decent pay-per-view. It was largely unnecessary in its delivery, but fans got out of it what they wanted with a couple A and A+ moments.
Among the high spots on the card, the tag match on the Buy-In with SCU and the Best Friends was good. Nyla Rose was a star. Jon Moxley match vs Joey Janela was a war and there were a couple of surprises thrown in for good measure.
The problem was, all of that was overshadowed by ideas and moments that were totally uncalled for, likely because AEW wanted to prove a point they don’t need to prove. They are not WWE, everyone knows it, and there’s no need to kill one another to get that point across.
The Unprotected Head Shot
What the hell was Cody and Shawn Spears thinking? Two guys who should absolutely know better, there is no reason in 2019 to ever hit another competitor in the head with an unprotected chair shot.
And this was no ordinary, glancing chair shot. This was heavy, direct and dangerous.
Perhaps this went as the two men were planning and Cody did an excellent sell job. That doesn’t excuse the decision. CTE is a real thing. Wrestlers are suffering from concussions, dying early and there’s enough risk in professional wrestling that Cody and Shawn didn’t need to add to that element of risk by taking such an awful chance something could go wrong.
This was after Darby Allin took a crazy bump off the top turnbuckle onto the apron, back first. That, itself, was risky.
As good as this match was, the only thing I’ll remember is that chair shot and how uncomfortable it was to watch.
The Street Fighter Theme
Before people get all up on me that this was a PPV set alongside a gaming convention, I totally get that. I still believe the focus on cosplay and having a silly time in honor of the video game theme took away from the match between The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega vs. The Lucha Bros and Laredo Kid.
As a result, this was a good, but not as good match as the Double or Nothing bout. In fact, not by a long shot. Part of that was the distraction of the themed attire and the jovial nature of the contest at times.
Again, this was done to send a message by AEW that they are “cooler” than WWE. They are hip to gaming, cosplay, and connected to an older audience, where WWE is worried about being PG.
This is a point that didn’t need hammering home. It’s already well established that AEW has the “cool factor” going for it. Sometimes when you try too hard to prove a point, you lose what’s best about the match. In this case, it was that there were six of the best wrestlers in the world in the ring. This should have been a match of the year candidate. It wasn’t.
The Unsanctioned Match
Great match. Overall, it was what you might have expected. There were spots that were a bit tough to watch, but such moments were promoted and delivered upon.
The problem here is AEW has set a standard with these types of matches on a free PPV that could be difficult to live up to. In an effort to prove Moxley is no longer a “PG” Dean Ambrose, he gave the middle finger, swore, pulled out every hardcore weapon imaginable and it’s hard to fathom TNT will let any of this happen when it comes time to put these guys on their network.
I was thoroughly entertained but also watched curiously with an err of skepticism because I just don’t see how, long-term, this benefited AEW.
Again, Why Bother
This was AEW sticking it to WWE and showing fans they are not WWE. I watched and it dawned on me that if AEW is too focused on being different than WWE, they may actually miss the point of what makes them so good — that they are what they are and shouldn’t worry about anyone else.
Hopefully this is out of their system. I liked the show. I just would have liked it a lot better if I felt they weren’t trying so hard not to be what they keep telling everyone they’re not.