By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
AEW All Out “Zero Hour Pre-Show”
Aired live September 3, 2023 live on YouTube
Chicago, Illinois at United Center
-Renee Paquette and RJ City opened the pre-show while standing inside the ring. They set up a video package on the Ricky Starks vs. Bryan Danielson strap match. Paquette and City moved to the entrance ramp.
-A Bryan Danielson promo aired. Danielson spoke about his love of Ricky Steamboat. He recalled Steamboat encouraging him as a 20 year-old when served as a referee for one of his matches. He said Steamboat continued to encourage him over the years. Danielson said he watched Ricky Starks whip Steamboat while he was at home and there was nothing he could do about it.
Danielson got worked up over Starks thinking it was okay to challenge a 70 year-old man to a strap match. Danielson said the last time he was in a strap match he faced someone he loved and they beat the shit out of each other. Danielson said he doesn’t even like Starks and told him to imagine what he’ll do to him.
-Lexi Nair interviewed Prince Nana, Toa Liona, Bishop Kaun, and Brian Cage. She said they would be in the battle royale and asked Nana which charity they would donate their winnings to if one of them won the match. Nana said it would go to the Mogul Embassy Foundation.
-Excalibur, Kevin Kelly, and Nigel McGuinness checked in on commentary… A group of wrestlers were already at ringside. Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor made their entrance. Dalton Castle and The Boys made their entrance. Castle looked into the camera and mentioned a mission he would donate the $50,000 to. Scorpio Sky made his entrance. Nana entered along with Cage, Kaun, and Liona. Hangman Page made a televised entrance and instantly felt like the most likely winner.
-Tony Nese stood in the ring with a mic and said the real charity cases were the fat Chicago fans. Nese encouraged everyone to do some group training. Nese said he would start with push-ups.
1. The Over Budget Battle Royale. Some of the other entrants included Serpentico, Darius Martin, Action Andretti, Komander, Matt Menard, Angelo Parker, Shawn Spears, Jake Hager, Daniel Garcia, Mark Davis, and Kyle Fletcher. Some of the babyfaces entered the ring and immediately eliminated Nese.
Hager eliminated Serpentico. McGuinness claimed he’d never worked a battle royal. Spears and Garcia both did Garcia’s dance. The Aussie Open duo of Fletcher and Davis grabbed Spears and eliminated him. Kaun and Liona eliminated Komander after Cage powerbombed him. The Boys caught Castle to save him from behind eliminated. Castle punched Parker, who fell into the arms of The Boys, who set him down on the ground to eliminate him.
Cage eliminated Castle. Menard and Garcia eliminated Martin. Liona eliminated Taylor shortly after the Best Friends did their hug spot. Page eliminated Kaun. Menard was eliminated, but the production crew missed his elimination. Sky dumped Hager over the top rope to oust him from the match.
The Aussie Open duo pressed Page over their heads, but Beretta broke it up. Page and Beretta performed a double clothesline to eliminate Davis. Sky tossed Garcia out, which drew some boos. Garcia did his dance while he walked up the ramp. Sky was eliminated by Cage and Liona.
The final six were Page, Andretti, Beretta, Fletcher, Cage, and Liona. A “Cowboy Shit” chant broke out. Fletcher shoved Andretti over the top, but Andretti skinned the cat. Fletcher ran the ropes and drilled Andretti with a knee to knock him off the apron. Fletcher and Beretta fought on the apron. Beretta suplexed Fletcher, who fell to the ground.
The final four were Page, Beretta, Cage, and Liona. Cage tossed Beretta out with an F5 style move. Page pulled Cage to the apron with a head-scissors move. Page hit Liona with a Buckshot Lariat and then eliminated him. Cage put Cage down with a neckbreaker. Page skinned the cat and pulled Cage to the apron with his legs. Both men traded shots on the apron. Cage set up for a piledriver, but Page countered into the Deadeye. Cage hit the apron and tumbled to the floor to end the match…
Hangman Page won the Over Budget Battle Royale in 13:15.
Powell’s POV: It was a battle royal won by the heavy favorite. It didn’t do much for me, but it got a lot of people on the show and the live crowd was happy with Page going over.
-Paquette and City ran through the lineup while standing on the apron. Entrances for the women’s trios match took place.
2. Athena, Mercedes Martinez, and Diamante (w/Billie Starkz) vs. Hikaru Shida, Willow Nightingale, and Skye Blue in a trios match. All six wrestlers stood in the ring. Athena acted like she was going to start for her team, but then she shoved one of her partners at Willow and darted to ringside. Martinez and Diamante confronted Athena on the floor. Blue dove from the top rope onto all three heels.
Later, Skye went up top and was cut off by Martinez. In an ugly spot. Martinez suplexed Skye from the ropes. Skye landed rough and folded like an accordion, and yet for some reason one of the broadcast team members was cracking up (hopefully about something unrelated).
Athena and Shida squared off briefly, but they were both pulled to ringside by opponents. Blue was back on her feet and seemed fine. Willow hit the Pounce on Athena at ringside. Back in the ring, Willow hoisted up Diamante and tagged out. Blue kicked Diamante and then Willow performed a Death Valley Driver. Blue followed up with an awful Code Blue and scored the pin…
Hikaru Shida, Willow Nightingale, and Skye Blue defeated Athena, Mercedes Martinez, and Diamante in 8:30.
Powell’s POV: A rough finish. It’s hard to imagine that the vast majority of viewers are watching ROH, which means they are missing out on the excellent work that Athena is doing. She’s the best thing going in the AEW or ROH women’s divisions right now and yet she’s stuck behind a paywall. Too bad. Does anyone benefit more than Blue from AEW running Chicago so frequently?
-A video package aired with Rush barking orders to his kidnapped faction mates Preston Vance and Dralistico. They all put their fists together at the end and the La Faccion Ingobernable logo was shown on the screen at the end.
-Paquette and City set up a video package on the Orange Cassidy vs. Jon Moxley match that will headline the pay-per-view.
-Sonjay Dutt came out in a Detroit Pistons jersey and did an over the top NBA introduction of Jeff Jarrett, Satnam Singh, and Jay Lethal. There was a basketball hoop set up on the stage. Singh crushed a basketball. The Acclaimed entrance followed. Max Caster rapped on the way to the ring and labeled Jarrett’s crew the 2023 Oddities…
3. Billy Gunn and “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens (w/Dennis Rodman) vs. Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, and Satnam Singh (w/Karen Jarrett, Sonjay Dutt) for the AEW Trios Titles. Before the match, Gunn had Aubrey Edwards replace the referee, which infuriated Karen. Bowens and Caster hit Scissor Me Timbers on Jeff. They did his strut and then scissored.
Karen choked Caster over the middle rope while the referee had her head turned. Later, Singh checked in and dominated the babyface team. Dutt distracted the referee while Karen entered the ring with a guitar. The referee turned and caught Karen. The referee shoved Karen to the mat and cleared her from the ring.
Gunn chop blocked Singh. Rodman entered the ring and slammed the guitar over Singh’s head. Gunn hit Lethal with a Fameasser, Bowens hit The Arrival, and then Caster capped it off with the Mic Drop for the win…
Billy Gunn and “The Acclaimed” Max Caster and Anthony Bowens defeated Jeff Jarrett, Jay Lethal, and Satnam Singh to retain the AEW Trios Titles.
A video package aired on MJF and Adam Cole to close out the pre-show…
Join me for my live review of the AEW All Out main card via the main page.