After a two-week break in action, we’re back again with AEW weekly recaps on RingCrashers as we take a look back at last week’s Fight for the Fallen shows that played out on Dynamite and Rampage. This year’s edition saw the rises of new stars and big time shockers as AEW’s road to All Out and the upcoming Quake by the Lake shows became a bit more clearer. Let’s see what went down last week, shall we?
Match 1: Jon Moxley def. Rush (retains Interim AEW World Championship)
Fight for the Fallen got underway with Rush looking to win the Interim AEW World Title off of Jon Moxley on behalf of La Faccion Ingobernable, and it appeared that he’d come close to it on more than one occasion.
Rush was ruthless in his approach, aggressively attacking Moxley without any sort of mercy whatsoever. That was evident when Rush bit Moxley’s forehead to cause bleeding, as he then licked the blood of his championship foe.
Late in the match, Andrade El Idolo got involved and attacked Mox while the referee was distracted. The Lucha Brothers ran down to chase away Andrade from the ringside area. Rush kicked out of the Death Rider DDT at a very close two, but succumbed to the Bulldog Choke submission as Mox retained the interim World Title.
While it was clear that Mox was not going to lose this one, it doesn’t take away from Rush’s performance in this title match. The fact that he got as much offense in on Moxley as he did shows that AEW might see in him what many saw during Rush’s stint in Ring of Honor.
Chris Jericho appeared on the ramp, flanked by a few of his Jericho Appreciation Society allies. He called his shot on a rematch for Moxley’s AEW World Title in two weeks at the Quake by the Lake edition of Dynamite in Minneapolis. Mox accepted the challenge… on the condition that Jericho face him not as “The Wizard” or “Le Champion”, but as “The Lionheart”.
Match 2: Ricky Starks def. Danhausen (retains FTW Championship)
“Absolute” Ricky Starks put his FTW Championship on the line against the very nice, very evil Danhausen and had himself a very nice, very quick victory in the process.
Danhausen got a small advantage, but that was only just, as Starks avoided a lariat and hit a spear on Danhausen to retain the FTW Championship.
Following this match, Starks got on the microphone and said that he still had a challenge left in him so he wanted to defend his FTW Championship against another foe.
Match 3: HOOK def. Ricky Starks (new FTW Champion)
Fellow Team Taz member HOOK stepped up to Starks’ FTW open challenge in a big way. That isn’t to say Starks lacked the effort in this impromptu title defense, as he managed to hit a big Spear on HOOK near the end of the match. With HOOK hoisted up for a Roshambo, Starks looked to have the match won. However, HOOK countered Starks’ finisher into the Redrum submission hold, forcing a tapout after a brief struggle.
As HOOK celebrated his win, he and Starks shared a respectful fistbump among Team Taz members as Dynamite headed to a commercial break.
Immediately after the commercial break, Starks cut a passionate promo that won over even more fans and seemed to signify a shift into becoming a babyface. Powerhouse Hobbs’s abrupt betrayal on Starks only further put a stamp on that turn.
Starks’ destiny in AEW is a higher trajectory into superstardom, and this segment appeared to be a culmination of that in many ways. Fan support for Starks has grown in recent months and letting him be a fan favorite will only help the cheers grow even more. This forthcoming feud with Will Hobbs is going to be one that benefits both men in unique ways and I can’t wait to see how this plays out.
Match 4: Sammy Guevara def. Dante Martin
Ahead of this encounter, Dante Martin said in a backstage promo that he wasn’t going to head into battle with the J.A.S.’s arrogant flyer alone, opting to bring in Skye Blue as a counter to Tay Conti.
Fans were treated to a high-flying encounter between two of AEW’s top young talents. The action headed outside the ring as Dante hit a tope con giro on Sammy on the staging area near the entrances for a huge high spot.
Guevara would fight back with a jumping knee strike to intercept a Dante springboard attack, with the action becoming more back-and-forth as the match wore on. After a Tay Conti distraction created an opening for the springboard cutter, Sammy followed that up with a GTH to net himself a victory.
The J.A.S. duo of Guevara and Conti attacked both Dante and Skye, before being joined by Anna Jay, who helped the baddies get the advantage. Eddie Kingston, Ortiz, and Ruby chased off the J.A.S. before they could do any more damage.
Match 5: “Swerve” Strickland def. “Smart” Mark Sterling & Tony Nese (Keith Lee Banned From Ringside)
“Smart” Mark and Tony Nese looked to stack the deck against one-half of the AEW World Tag Champions in a handicap match with the caveat of Keith Lee being banned from ringside.
The numbers game didn’t seem to be much of an issue for “Swerve” Strickland, who stood toe-to-toe with Tony Nese. Meanwhile, Sterling did his best to avoid Swerve’s wrath, leaving Nese to do most of the heavy lifting. That wouldn’t amount to much, however, as Strickland took both Nese and Sterling out with a double stomp and single-leg dropkick, respectively, to pick up the victory.
The stage screen lit up with an image of former ROH Pure Champion Josh Woods standing over Keith Lee with one of the AEW Tag Titles in hand. Nese struck Strickland with the other Tag Title belt, which seemed to indicate that Swerve in Our Glory’s first challengers will be this team of Nese and Woods.
Match 5: Thunder Rosa def. Miyu Yamashita (retains AEW Women’s World Championship)
This match came about after Yamashita scored a surprise win over Rosa at a Tokyo Joshi Pro event last month, which granted her an opportunity at the AEW Women’s World Championship.
Yamashita, known as “The Pink Striker”, lived up to her moniker, as she used her strong striking abilities against Rosa throughout this match. It appeared we’d see a similar scenario to Yamashita’s upset win with a roll-up pin, but Rosa escaped that predicament in short order. At the end of the day, however, it would be Rosa that would prevail in another successful title defense as she hit the Fire-Thunder Driver on Yamashita to retain her AEW Women’s World Title.
Both women showed each other a sign of respect after the match concluded.
The Elephant in the Room — #GiveAEWWomenAChance, Pt. 2
In case you were wondering, this particular match was indeed in the now-familiar pre-main event 9:30 spot, and ran for a total of approximately 9 minutes (without entrances and post-match segment), with about 2:43 in picture-in-picture.
While the match itself was a fine showcase between Rosa and Yamashita, it honestly left me want more out of it. 11 minutes of action is not nearly enough time for Rosa or Yamashita to truly show off what they could be capable of.
A few months ago, I wrote a short editorial that identified the problems with AEW’s women’s division and how it was presented. One of the issues mentioned was the company’s adherance to “one women’s match per show” on Dynamite. Up to this point, it is still very much an omnipresent problem that the booking team is apparently in no hurry to fix, which is an unfortunate shame.
The lack of any actual story behind this match other than Yamashita’s victory over Rosa at a TJPW event was also a clear issue. The Mark Order Podcast highlighted these issues in their latest episode, mentioning the aforementioned problems.
“It makes it really hard to get excited for a women’s title match when the first thing that they do is tell you that it goes on for the same length of time and the same slot as every week,” Mark Order co-host Kate says in the clip, bringing up the nagging issue that was as clear as ever when I was watching the Yamashita vs. Rosa match.
Indeed, the flaw of not having a Women’s World Championship match either open or be the main event of the show — especially one featuring an outside talent with as much credibility as Miyu Yamashita — is something that can’t be ignored. AEW has become prone to these same mistakes as it relates to their women’s division, and quite frankly, it’s rather disappointing to see as a fan of the promotion.
Recent developments this past weekend at a certain global wrestling conglomerate’s women’s division has only made the need to do right by its own women’s division something that AEW needs to address sooner rather than later.
Match 6: Daniel Garcia def. Bryan Danielson
Fight For The Fallen’s main event saw the returning Bryan Danielson face off with Daniel Garcia in his first match back from injury… remember that point, as it’ll be important a bit later.
Bryan hit the ground running to start, leveling Garcia with a dropkick and appearing none the worse for wear… though that would soon change in an instant. A rough landing on his head following a top-rope dropkick led to Danielson appearing to be concussed, which allowed Garcia to pounce with a DDT onto the exposed concrete outside the ring.
The story of this main event pretty much became the question of whether Danielson returned too early or not, as his injuries appeared to be too much for him to overcome. However, he rallied back and looked to take the win after a running knee on Garcia. That’s when a mysterious hand reached out from under the apron to slow Bryan down as he attempted to enter the ring.
This gave Garcia the opening to hit Bryan with a piledriver, followed by a particularly tight Sharpshooter that Bryan passed out from, forcing a referee stoppage.
Garcia’s win can be considered a “signature” one, though the added Jake Hager antics does put a bit of a damper on it. Granted, that’s the idea of a heel doing dirty things to get people to hate them. However, Garcia picking up the win just by simply going after a less-than-100-persent Bryan Danielson in a brutal manner would’ve worked in delivering the “signature” moment AEW would’ve wanted out of it.
Leaning in on Garcia being the J.A.S.’s killer wrestler (or “Red Death”, if you will) by having him viciously attack Bryan throughout the match en route to the win would’ve served him much better than a needless interference win.
7/29 AEW Rampage: Fight for the Fallen Results
- The Best Friends def. Sonjay Dutt, Jay Lethal, and Satnam Singh via pinfall (8:30) after Orange Cassidy pinned Sonjay with an Orange Punch. Lethal and friends beat up on Best Friends after the match, but were chased off by Wardlow, who didn’t back down from the numbers disadvantage.
- Ethan Page def. Leon Ruffin via pinfall (1:30) with the Ego’s Edge.
- Lee Moriarty def. Matt Sydal via submission (7:30), as the latter showed more of a heelish side. Post-match, he appeared to align himself with Stokely Hathaway.
- Anna Jay def. Ruby Soho via submission (9:00) with the Queenslayer submission hold.
Other Odds & Ends
- AEW casually announced the introduction of the Trios Championships, with a tournament set to begin soon. The finals will happen at All Out on September 4th.
- Developments relating to the above included an awkward backstage meeting between the Young Bucks and former(?) friend “Hangman” Adam Page on Dynamite, and the announcement of the Undisputed Elite’s return on the next edition of Dynamite.
- Jungle Boy had some harsh words for Christian Cage, mocking his tormentor’s recent divorce as the reason why he needed more money. He also discussed Luchasaurus’ recent alliance with Christian, mentioning that he was only protecting Christian so that it would be Jungle Boy that would get to beat him up. In response, Christian hinted that he knew all of J.B.’s secrets and was going to use them in due time.
- The House of Black had a video promo where they tried to recruit Miro into their ranks, promising him a throne he could sit on. Brody King also challenged Darby Allin to a coffin match, as clips of King’s attack on Darby at San Diego Comic Con was also shown.
- In the first international event for AEW, it was announced that episodes of Dynamite and Rampage would be taped in Toronto, Canada this October.
- A championship celebration for Claudio Castagnoli that was interrupted by Chris Jericho led to a match being made for Dynamite: Jericho vs. Wheeler YUTA, with Jericho’s Quake by the Lake title shot at stake.
- The Acclaimed debuted a music video mocking the Gunn Club, hinting at their Dumpster Match for Dynamite.
Marc Quill is the editor of RingCrashers, GateCrashers’ home for all your All Elite Wrestling and indie wrestling needs. He’s also the web novelist behind Skye Emery: Bluebird, which you can read here. You can chat with him about wrestling, comics, and stuff in general on @MarcQuill on Twitter.