AEW’s handling of Matt Hardy injury scare overshadows solid All Out

All Out had a little bit of everything, good, bad and downright scary.

All Elite Wrestling’s pay-per-view Saturday night was heavy on well-told stories, but lacking some of the great wrestling we expect. Much of the show felt like a glorified episode of “Dynamite” with a few very bright spots. AEW needs to get away from too many gimmick matches and get back to amazing wrestling.

There was also a questionable decision to restart a match after it appeared Matt Hardy was seriously hurt. The show did deliver a new champion, ramped up friction in The Elite and continued the star-making of Orange Cassidy and Maxwell Jacob Friedman.

Here are five takeaway from All Out:

Just stop it

AEW questionably restarted the match between Matt Hardy and Sammy Guevara. It was initially called after it appeared Hardy may have suffered a head injury in the opening minutes. He was speared from a scissor lift by Guevara onto a table, but they overshot it and Hardy’s head hit the concrete floor in the concession area of Daily’s Palace.

Referee Aubrey Edwards delayed her 10-count, which Hardy would have to beat to win the “Broken Rules” match. If Hardy lost he had to leave AEW, in the storyline. He was struggling to stand and falling to the floor. Edwards correctly put up the X to call for the doctor and the bell rung. Hardy was pulled aside to be checked. Announcers Jim Ross, Excalibur and Tony Schiavone both applauded the stoppage with Ross saying, “It’s not the time to take chances with peoples’ health” and “You could tell Matt Hardy was not right.”

Then all of sudden, Guevara — who hurt Hardy a few weeks ago with a botched chair toss — was shown walking back to the ring. He was attacked by Hardy and the match went right to what was likely the original finish. The two of them climbed a few rungs of scaffolding and Hardy pushing Guevara into a bunch of crash pads and he did not answer the 10 count.

Schiavone later in the show said Hardy and Guevara were OK and said the match was restarted because Hardy was cleared by AEW’s Dr. Michael Sampson after he told him was OK to continue. It’s what AEW president Tony Khan confirmed during a conference call after the show.

“When the doctor checked on him, the doctor then passed him and cleared him in the concussion protocol,” Khan said. “He checked with Matt, then Matt came back and he passed the concussion protocol and he’s doing OK. I spoke with him right after the match and again just now. He went in precaution to the hospital.”

Though it is admirable for a veteran like Hardy wanting to finish the match, sometimes the company needs to step in and keep performers from putting themself in more harm. Keep him safe and figure out a storyline way to negate the stipulation.

Shift maker

Jon Moxley vs. MJF was everything we could have hoped for and maybe more. Moxley retained his AEW world championship after Wardlow’s bad toss of the Dynamite Diamond ring missed MJF. It distracted the referee and allowed Moxley to hit his banned Paradigm Shift finisher unnoticed for the win. The perfect finish keeps the belt on Moxley and gives MJF or his lawyer a chance to complain to Khan that he is the rightful champion.

MJF and Moxley properly told the story of a more hardcore style versus a classic one. MJF was bloodied by Moxley’s car crash style and Friedman worked his opponent’s left arm enough that Moxley sold it throughout most of the match.

At one point, MJF countered Moxley’s attempt for a Paradigm Shift into a Salt of the Earth armbar, but the champ was able to get to the ropes. MJF used a poke to the eye and a low blow, but his last attempt to cheat cost him. Even so, MJF proved his toughness and proved he is a true main event player.

Moxley’s next immediate challenger will be Lance Archer. He won the Casino Battle Royale by tossing Eddie Kingston to the outside from the top rope with help from the bag said to contain Jake “The Snake” Robert’s snake.

Top guys

FTR is right where it belongs as Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood ended Kenny Omega and Hangman Page’s 228-day reign as AEW tag champions. They also deepened the rift between the two and in The Elite. We came into the match questioning if Hangman would succumb to FTR’s mind games again, but he was there every moment Omega needed him. Instead, it was a hobbled Omega’s mistimed V-Trigger knee that knocked out Page. He was pinned by Hardwood after two spike pile drivers.

After the match, which was wrestled in FTR’s more classic style, Omega didn’t hit Page with a small table, but didn’t catch his partner when he fell out in front of him in exhaustion either. He left him in the ring and angrily walked to the back. He got into an SUV after giving The Young Bucks — who beat Jurrasic Express earlier in the night — the ultimatum to come with him or stay behind, which they did.

This was FTR at their dastardly best, attacking Omega’s leg, distracting refs. FTR’s much-anticipated meeting with The Young Bucks will be at the forefront soon enough and so might be the teased Omega heel turn versus Hangman

In The Drink

Don’t think we need to see a Mimosa Mayhem match or anything like it again, but it did help cement Cassidy as a main eventer. It took two Orange Punches to undo Jericho’s grip on the ropes and send him splashing into one of the two large vats of mimosa on either side of the ring.

This match got Cassidy the 2-1 series win over Jericho, but building drama around them possible getting dumped into orange juice and champagne wasn’t exactly super compelling. We already watched a hardcore match between Britt Baker and Big Swole and Hardy and Guevara. Jericho also had orange juice dumped on his week ago by Cassidy.

Chris Jericho in a tub of mimosa.AEW/All Out

Mixed bag

AEW women’s champion Hikaru Shida got everything AEW could have hoped for out of her match with NWA women’s champion Thunder Rosa. The match was technically sound, physical and saw Thunder Rosa countering much of Shida’s signature offense. It’s a challenge Shida overcame with the win, adding another notch in her belt. Rosa was a good stop-gap attraction, but now AEW needs to figure out a true feud for Shida.

This cinematic “Tooth and Nail” match — originally tabbed for preshow — shot inside Baker’s dentist office wasn’t great overall, but you could tell a lot of thought was put it in. The finish came when a novocaine needle ending up in Baker’s leg instead of in Swole’s. She eventually put Baker to sleep by using anesthesia. It had good callbacks to their feud like the truck Baker rode around in and the dumpster Swole dumped her into. Fighting in the thin office hallways really limited the action at times.

Other matches

Dustin Rhodes, QT Marshall, Matt Cardona and Scorpio Sky over Brody Lee, Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, Colt Cabana

While you’d like to see Dark Order continue its dominance, it’s worth it if it means Colt Cabana’s days in the group is over. He blew his chance after being set up to win by TNT champion Brodie Lee. Dustin ultimately used a rollup to pin Cabana, who got an earful from Lee after the match Dustin got his revenge for Lee putting his brother Cody out of AEW in storyline and gets a shot at the belt next week on Dynamite.

Private Party over The Dark Order’s Jon Silver and Alex Reynolds

Private Party wins a fun match with Gin & Juice — and this the lower half of the AEW tag team division.

Joey Janella over Serpentico

Both get some well-deserved pay-per-view time. Hope we see more of Janella and tag partner Sonny Kiss.

Biggest winner:
FTR
Biggest loser: Chris Jericho
Best match: Jon Moxely vs. MJF
Grade: B-