The Best of All Out 2022
Another year, another home run for AEW’s most headline-grabbing PPV, All Out. While yes, a lot of those headlines had come from a media scrum after the event, absolutely nobody who was directly involved in that ordeal came out of it looking better. The best we as fans can do is to have some faith that things are dealt with swiftly and that the TV product is not hampered by all this silliness.
There are, after all, a lot of new names that are poised to take over AEW television for the next few months, just off the back of their showing at All Out 2022 — now, let’s rank them.
(5) Toni Storm v Hikaru Shida v Jamie Hayter v Britt Baker
(Interim Women’s World Championship)
With Thunder Rosa temporarily relinquishing the World title due to injury, we were guaranteed a fresh start in the women’s division with a four-way for the interim title. All respect to Rosa, but this four-way would have had a much bigger impact on the division than traditional singles match penciled in between Rosa and Storm.
What really made this four-way — apart from the loudest ovations for Jamie Hayter — was that it showcased four of the division’s best all in one go. Apart from the women dead-set on Jade Cargill’s TBS Championship and undefeated streak, plus Serena Deeb and Nyla Rose, the four women in the match have been the four most prominent fixtures on the roster since 2021.
Toni Storm, Hikaru Shida, Jamie Hayter, and Britt Baker: each of them represent AEW’s best in terms of popularity, potential, and sheer match quality, and showcasing more of them (in this case, literally) means more chances at creating depth in a highly-criticized division.
(4) The Elite v Adam Page and Dark Order
(World Trios Championship Final)
A lot of this is added chapters to The Elite saga. I’ve heard it said that this is either a saga you love or feel nothing for; and while there is merit to the statement, if you leave their drama aside, this was a terrific, high-energy title match and one of the best matches of All Out.
All 6 men showed great urgency and heart to be the 1st World Trios Champions without maiming their opponents, which was a great story to watch. If there are 2 things to take away from this, it’s that, (1) John Silver and Alex Reynolds both need to fight the Young Bucks again or just be on PPV again (wishing a speedy recovery to Reynolds), and (2) whoever takes those belts from The Elite are gonna have to earn it.
(3) Eddie Kingston v Tomohiro Ishii
This was great. It looked poised to be the match of the night, and it was match 4 of 15, and it was on the pre-show.
Through the mutual punishment and the bruising chops, you could tell a bond was being formed between Eddie Kingston and Tomohiro Ishii. This being marketed as Kingston v Ishii 2 (with a 1-1 tally) leaves hope that a third match is all but guaranteed.
Backstage hoopla aside, Kingston is sorely missed in AEW. As long as the stories he creates are kept in the ring, and have less to do with Sammy Guevara, this match against Ishii should be far from his last great bout this year.
(2) Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland (c) v The Acclaimed
(World Tag Team Championship)
Keith Lee and Swerve Strickland v The Acclaimed was the standout match of the night at All Out, as a match that balanced both the pure drama of tag team wrestling and the headlines that resulted afterwards. The live audience was head-over-heels in support of The Acclaimed (who have organically won the hearts of the AEW fanbase over the course of 2 years), and even uncharacteristically booed Keith Lee just to prove that love.
Unfortunately, there would be no scissor parties by the end of the night, much to the vocal, expletive-ridden disappointment of the Chicago crowd that confirmed what we all knew: Everyone loves The Acclaimed.
(1) MJF returns
To be perfectly honest, as someone who doesn’t live anywhere near North America, the whole CM Punk in Chicago deal is just a very low-stakes story — and that was half the build heading into the All Out main event. I do, however, get that it’s an integral part of the CM Punk mythos.
But all things considered, Jon Moxley v CM Punk 2 was a compelling match from beginning to end. Punk landed everything he planned to, and he both dished out and absorbed more to his body in this installment, while Moxley gave us a signature main event bloodbath to remember.
Still, the way the build went — from the shocking Mox v Punk 1, to Mox destroying Punk on promos every chance he got — the build itself would have had this main event beat, had it not been for the return of MJF. There was always a question mark looming over this match in the form of Punk’s true AEW rival, who had previously sat home in protest of his perceived financial maltreatment from AEW President Tony Khan. He conveyed defiance in his final tirade before stepping away, but the matter of how he would come back (because surely he was coming back) always lingered.
And what better way to return (and what bigger star to upstage) than by possessing a World Championship match contract, opposite the mythical World Champion: CM Punk in Chicago?