All Elite Wrestling’s latest pay-per-view event, “All Out,” took place on Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd in Chicago.
In the same city and arena where “All In” happened a year ago, the 10-match card featured two title bouts — including crowning the fledgling company’s first-ever world champion — and helped set the stage for AEW as it debuts on national television next month.
Here are five takeaways from the event.
AEW women’s division starts to come into focus
“The Buy In” kicked off with the women’s Casino Battle Royale with the winner earning an opportunity to wrestle for the AEW women’s championship in October. The structure of the match allowed for all of the women involved to be featured somewhat prominently as well as build up ongoing storylines in the AEW women’s division. During the action fans were either reminded of Allie’s feud with Brandi Rhodes, Rhodes’ alliance with Awesome Kong and Britt Baker’s animosity toward Bea Priestley.
Nyla Rose, the eventual winner, was among the first group of women in the match and her performance thus far in AEW has shown why she’s deserving of a shot at the championship. Rose’s victory did come with a bit of an asterisk, however, as Priestley held Baker’s arm after being eliminated, allowing Rose to capitalize and win the match.
Later in the night Riho faced Hikaru Shida for the other spot in the women’s championship match. The fast-paced match featured more of Riho’s clever pinning combinations than offense from the 22-year-old Japanese star and she eventually scored the victory with a sudden counter.
The showdown between Riho and Rose should be an impressive one when it does happen and despite her dominant performance in the Casino Battle Royale and incredible size advantage, Rose will be the underdog. Riho remains undefeated in singles competition in AEW — including a win over Rose — and has been arguably the best talent on the roster in the four shows the company has had so far.
Regardless of the outcome, Baker has a legitimate path to be the No. 1 contender for the women’s championship once the dust clears and she settles her feud with Priestley.
Pac shines in substitute role
In a match that was made just days before “All Out,” Pac and Kenny Omega impressed. With Jon Moxley being forced to miss “All Out” due to an infection, Pac stepped in to make his AEW debut against Omega. The fact that two of the most talented wrestlers in the world put on a stellar show shouldn’t surprise anyone, but considering the circumstances, this match was much better from a narrative standpoint than it should have been.
Throughout the match the AEW announce team sold Omega as someone who may be overlooking Pac due to his months-long grudge with Moxley. While Omega was built up as the favorite, Pac was described as someone looking for respect and played heel perfectly to start the match.
In addition to strong storytelling, the match featured excellent ring psychology as the two stars traded counters and maneuvers before eventually building to eye-popping spots both in and out of the ring. Eventually, Pac was able to counter a One-Winged Angel attempt from Omega and pick up the victory by forcing the former New Japan Pro Wrestling star to pass out.
With his future in AEW uncertain, Pac winning this match makes a ton of sense moving forward. Should he stick around, Pac immediately jumps to the top of the card while Omega was ultimately protected by the finish by not taking a clean pin or tapping out. AEW plans on focusing on wins and losses, meaning that along with Omega potentially being distracted by the looming confrontation with Moxley, he can continue to sell being in a “funk” when it comes to his AEW career.
Cody-Spears gives a wrestling history lesson
The most personal match on the card, Cody Rhodes versus Shawn Spears delivered on several levels. While the in-ring action didn’t feature as many jaw-dropping spots as Pac-Omega or Lucha Bros-Young Bucks, Rhodes and Spears — along with several special guests — told a story rich in professional wrestling lore and arguably the best of the night.
With Four Horsemen alum Tully Blanchard in his corner, Spears dominated for much of the match, utilizing underhanded tactics while Blanchard distracted referee Earl Hebner. Despite having MJF in his corner, Cody was unable to create much of an advantage while the announce team swerved those watching at home by astutely questioning MJF’s true intentions.
It wasn’t until Blanchard took out MJF that the match truly swung. With Hebner tending to MJF outside the ring, wrestling legend Arn Anderson came out and delivered a vintage spine buster to Spears, drawing Blanchard away from the ring and allowing momentum to swing back into Cody’s favor. The finish involved Cody delivering a chair-assisted Disaster Kick to Spears and putting a nice bow on the rivalry that started with a vicious, unprotected chair shot at Fyter Fest in June.
Moving forward, it’s hard to see this feud continuing in the near future, but with MJF remaining loyal to Rhodes and no obvious booking for either, it’s easy to see the two friends teaming up and entering the tag team championship tournament in October.
A tag team match for the ages
Any time the Young Bucks and Lucha Brothers wrestle against each other it’s special. After going toe-to-toe for the AAA tag team championships at “Double or Nothing,” the pairs of brothers renewed their rivalry at “All Out,” this time in a ladder match for those very same titles.
The action in this match was non-stop and jaw-dropping, with both teams easily living up to the name of the AEW pay-per-view. Likely a favorite for match of the year, the performance these two teams resulted in pure carnage. Attempting to describe everything in this match would be nearly impossible but it left everyone watching in the crowd and at home completely stunned.
As the match entered its final stages, things became a bit uncomfortable to watch as Nick Jackson took a terrible spill from the top of a ladder through two tables set up outside the ring and eliminated from the rest of the contest. In a surprising move, Matt Jackson removed Pentagon Jr.’s mask — the ultimate disrespect in Lucha culture — drawing boos from the raucous Chicago crowd.
By the time Rey Fenix and Pentagon Jr. pulled down their championships, Matt and Nick Jackson were in heaps outside the ring surrounded by broken tables and ladders.
As the Lucha Brothers celebrated, two masked men came out to the ring and took out the champions and the Young Bucks before revealing themselves as Ortiz and Santana — the Latin American Xchange.
Thankfully the four competitors involved in the penultimate match of “All Out” have a little more than a month to rest and recover before AEW debuts its weekly show — they’ll need it.
AEW is Jericho
Chris Jericho versus Hangman Page was set in May at “Double or Nothing,” so we have had more than three months of build up for the first-ever AEW world championship match. Jericho, undeniably one of the greatest professional wrestlers in history, has been the biggest heel in AEW since its inception while fan-favorite Page was essentially the homegrown option in this feud.
A slow-building match allowed Jericho and Page to show off their contrasting styles before kicking things into high gear in the closing moments of the pay-per-view. A busted open Jericho kicked out of Page’s finishing move, the Dead Eye, and eventually landed a Judas Effect elbow to knock Page out and become the company’s first champion.
There were arguments to be had for both stars when it came to predicting who would become AEW’s first champion. On one hand, having Page win would have been the unexpected move considering the other talent on the roster, Jericho included. Having Page as champion would have put a relatively fresh face at the forefront of the men’s division when AEW’s weekly show debuts.
On the other hand, Jericho is as well-known a professional wrestler as there is today. After more than two decades working in WCW, WWE, NJPW and now AEW, he has the résumé and reputation to deserve top billing.
Jericho being a heel champion leaves the door open for several feuds in the future, most notably a rubber match with Omega. The two initially wrestled in January 2018 at Wrestle Kingdom 12, with Omega winning. Jericho would even the score in the rematch, more than a year later at “Double or Nothing” to earn his chance to face Page. A match between the two for the AEW world championship would once again up the ante and cap off the trilogy.
More from Yahoo Sports: