AEW Fight For The Fallen Preview for July 28, 2021
Night Two of FYTER FEST 2021 continued to escalate the unpredictability that is DYNAMITE! Who could have ever foreseen Death Match Legend, and underground wrestling Icon, Nick F'n Gage being introduced by Maxwell Jacob Friedman! Much less being brought out as the second labour that Chris Jericho will have to face this Wednesday night at FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN 2021! And as if that wasn't enough, Chavo Guerrero arrived in the camp of Andrade El Idolo to try and secure the services of The Lucha Brothers! Plus we found out that Cody Rhodes and Malakai Black will collide in Jacksonville at DYNAMITE: HOMECOMING 2021, and that highly-anticipated 10-man elimination tag between The Dark Order/Adam Page and The Elite will go down this week on TNT!
On top of that fate-changing 10-Man Tag, and MJF's game changing foe for Chris Jericho, we will also see NJPW competitor Hikuleo come into AEW to face brand new IWGP US Champion “The Murderhawk Monster” in Archer's first title defense, Christian Cage and The Jurassic Express will go head-up with The Hardy Family Office, and the long-awaited tag team fight between FTR and Santana/Ortiz will finally take place! It all goes down this Wednesday night in Charlotte, NC at The Bojangles Coliseum as well as LIVE on TNT at 8pm EST, and on AEWPlus.com for our International Audience! Oh yes, and as announced last week during FYTER FEST 2020: NIGHT 2, Tony Khan will have a major new live event announcement!
Get ready for all the action on the official AEW YouTube channel where you can subscribe to be sure you never miss an edition of DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, ROAD TO..., or any of the other content uploaded regularly to give fans that Full Elite Experience!
***RANKINGS LISTED AS OF 7/21/21***
***IF PAGE/DARK ORDER WIN, THEY WILL EARN A WORLD TITLE & TAG TITLE MATCH***
***IF THE ELITE WIN, THEN NO ONE WILL EARN A CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH***
The Elite (AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, AEW World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks, IMPACT World Tag Team Champions The Good Brothers)
(#1) Hangman Adam Page & The Dark Order (Alex Reynolds, Evil Uno, John Silver, Stu Grayson)
Several weeks ago, the number one ranked competitor in the Men's Division laid it all on the line with this challenge. Hangman Page put his AEW World Title opportunity on the line, as well as a potential World Tag Team Title opportunity for The Dark Order, for a shot at The Elite in this ten-man tag. All Adam had to wager was everything he had worked so hard to gain, make that regain; a top contender spot, his own feeling of worth, and the confidence of the man who faced Chris Jericho in the very first AEW World Title match almost two years ago at ALL OUT 2019.
As has been discussed recently, The Dark Order helped Page regain that confidence and lost sense of self, and in return Hangman has lobbied for a World Tag Team Title match on their behalf despite no pairing of the Dark Order family being a part of the top five rankings. While the Evil Uno/Stu Grayson combo have an amazing overall record of 22-5, they are just 4-1 in 2021 after Tuesday night's edition of AEW DARK. As for John Silver and Alex Reynolds, their 7-8 overall record doesn't accurately reflect the fact they were 4-0 on the year prior to Silver's injury four months ago, and had won six straight tag team affairs. John's injury back in March certainly hurt the momentum the pair had been building, they were in fact the #3 ranked team on the day Silver sustained the damage that shelved him since that TNT Title bout with Darby Allin. Nevertheless, neither pair joining Hangman on this night is in title contention at the moment, but to show the faith in The Dark Order that they have shown in Adam, he is risking his prize to help get them theirs. That is friendship, that is loyalty, that is trust and the kind of bond that The Elite never really demonstrated towards Hangman.
That being said, the men compromising The Elite now have certainly shown that loyalty to one another. AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, AEW World Tag Team Champions and newest IMPACT World Tag Team Champions The Good Brothers have all been there to help each other out in times of need and, in championship instances, have done the dirty work for one another to insure titles are retained. It's not as pure or selfless as the bond that has been created between Hangman Page and The Dark Order, but it does have a great deal more history binding it together. There are certainly more miles logged together between The Elite members, more matches fought together, but Hangman and The Dark Order are fighting for something, not just themselves, but for each other. They are fighting for opportunities for themselves and for each other, but when it comes down to the bottom line, no matter how much history may exist between The Elite, will they only be fighting for themselves to protect their respective championships, or are they fighting for each other to help prevent the potential championship challenges?
LABOUR THE SECOND...
“The Painmaker” Chris Jericho vs. Nick Gage
Last Wednesday night Chris Jericho conquered the first of the labours MJF laid out before him when he bested “The Chairman of AEW” Shawn Spears, despite the fact Spears was given carte blanche to use a chair. It was perfectly reasonable that Jericho expected another member of The Pinnacle to step up as his next labour. Perhaps it would be Wardlow in a Cage Match, maybe even another MMA Rules one like that in which Jake Hager fought “The WarDog” weeks ago. Maybe Chris would get a reprieve for a week, and have to deal with a handicap match against FTR. There was certainly a great deal of possibilities surrounding what form labour number two would take, but absolutely no one watching DYNAMITE, certainly no one inside the Curtis Culwell Center, and most definitely not Chris Jericho, ever expected Maxwell Jacob Friedman to unleash The King of Ultraviolence, the leader of the MDK Gang, Nick F'n Gage, upon All Elite Wrestling!
For those who may not know, just do a YouTube search for Nick Gage to see what this man is capable in a situation in which there are absolutely no rules. Look towards the DARK SIDE OF THE RING edition that delved into Gage's life, explored his criminal past, and highlighted the blood-stained road of the last 20-plus years that, legally-speaking, ended Nick's life for seven minutes in 2009. He has experienced every kind of pain that the Deathmatch iteration of professional wrestling can create, and has in turn, inflicted that pain on the many individuals who have entered into his world. Nick Gage carries the scars of a thousand painful moments, and every opponent he has faced has left with at least one of their own courtesy of The King. That is what Chris Jericho has to look forward to at FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN this Wednesday night, and despite the many match variations he has battled in over the course of his 30 year career, be it Cage or Last Man Standing, Blood & Guts or a Ladder, “The DemoGod” has never experienced anything like Nick Gage. Perhaps that is why Jericho has dug into the darker side of his own psyche for a side of himself, a violent part of himself born out of adulation for men like Bruiser Brody, and unleashed upon NJPW as The Painmaker!
The last time The Painmaker made his presence known in AEW was way back on October 16, 2019 when Jericho defended his World Title for the very first time against Darby Allin. That night Jericho not only made the match a Philadelphia Street Fight, but also promised to unleash The Painmaker upon his challenger. It was a violent night indeed, one that saw Darby handcuffed and brutalized by the World Champ, but it was not the first time The Painmaker was unleashed on the pro wrestling world. That took place in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2019 when Jericho attempted to claim the IWGP Heavyweight Title from “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada. Elements of that darkness had been creeping into Jericho's presentation ever since he first appeared in NJPW to challenge Kenny Omega two years prior, but it was heading into DOMINION 2019 that “The Painmaker” was fully born.
Jericho lost and the rage, the tantrum that followed, it brought the legendary Ace of NJPW Hiroshi Tanahashi to the aid of Okada! “The Painmaker” would defeat “The Ace” at WRESTLE KINGDOM 14 in January 2020, but since that day, that part of “Le Champion” has lay dormant. This Wednesday night, when Jericho must contend with the unparalleled violence of Nick Gage during FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN 2021, “The Painmaker” will be reborn!
Is that dark side of “The DemoGod” enough to combat “The King of Ultraviolence”? Has MJF unleashed something absolutely uncontrollable upon Chris Jericho in order to end this labours early? Tune into TNT for DYNAMITE, kicking off at 8pm EST, to see if Jericho can find a way to survive against a man who would rather die than lose. And even if “The Painmaker” is enough, what will be left of Jericho to continue on this path Maxwell Jacob Friedman has laid out?
IWGP UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH....
“The MurderHawk Monster” Lance Archer w/ Jake Roberts (c) vs. Hikuleo
As the son of legendary wrestler, and unquestionably the toughest man to every step into the ring, Haku, Hikuleo has spent his entire life as part of the larger pro wrestling family. He is the brother of Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa, also known as G.O.D in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and the cousin of Bad Luck Fale. He was brought into wrestling first as part of the Team 3D Academy and then as a member of the New Japan Dojo, before ultimately joining his kin as a member of The Bullet Club in 2017. Unfortunately a devastating injury early in March 2018 shelved Hikuleo for a year, but he would return in 2019 better than ever. He entered into his first New Japan Cup tournament, battled alongside his brothers for the NEVER Openweight Six Man Titles, and enjoyed multiple excursions into the United Kingdom before the pandemic shut down his international travel.
Since September though, Hikuleo has been honing his craft as part of the NEW JAPAN STRONG roster out of California. Along with his battles against men like Brody King, Fred Rosser, and Alex Coughlin, the Bullet Club member has also been joined by his unit mates KENTA, El Phantasmo, Chase Owens, and even G.O.D for several fights. Hikuleo even made it to the Semi-Finals of the New Japan Cup USA 2021 tournament before falling to Tom Lawlor.
Now, at 30 years of age, Hikuleo faces his biggest opportunity and his biggest test in “The Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer as the two men vie over the IWGP United State Heavyweight Title as part of the FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN 2021 event this Wednesday night on TNT! Creeping on 7 feet tall, and weighing over 260 pounds, Hikuleo actually has the advantage in size over the defending champion, but the question is if he has that certifiable mean streak like Archer because Hikuleo will need it if he aims to claim the IWGP US Title as his own!
In Tongan myth, Havea Hikule'o is the goddess who presides over Polotu, the resting place of those who have passed on. In his first ever singles bout for a New Japan championship, can Hikuleo send “The Murderhawk Monster” to that resting place or will Lance Archer kick-off his second IWGP US Title reign with a notch in his win column?
TAG TEAM GRUDGE MATCH...
Santana & Ortiz (w/ Konnan)
(#5) FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood w/ Tully Blanchard)
This is a tag team collision that AEW fans have been clamoring to see for months now, if not since the moment Cash Wheeler and Dax Harwood arrived on the scene last year. Two of the greatest tag teams of the modern era, four men who have honed their craft on totally different platforms for their entire careers, and now on the All Elite Wrestling stage they will finally meet to see who is the best.
There is, of course, the specter of The Pinnacle versus The Inner Circle that looms over this contest, and that bad blood has presented fans with a peak at what these two team are capable of together. Their shared moments during Blood & Guts and Stadium Stampede II are certainly memorable, but those were as part of a match where the spotlight fell on their respective factions as a whole. This Wednesday night, it is time for Santana, Ortiz, Cash Wheeler, and Dax Harwood to shine in a tag team fight in front of the whole world.
The fact that this contest is taking place in North Carolina, an area where the men of FTR cut their teeth, certainly plays a part in just how important this match is for Dax and Cash. So too does that fact that they are sitting in the number five spot in the tag team rankings, so close to finally get another shot at the World Tag Team Titles they lost last year, and yet still so far away.
But at least they are in that top five, the same cannot be said for Santana and Ortiz, although unlike FTR, at least they've had a shot at The Young Bucks since the champions beat Dax and Cash at FULL GEAR 2020. Still, the distractions of tribal warfare have certainly pulled the attention of all four men away from their championship goals, and although that Pinnacle/Inner Circle dynamic looms large here, this one is also about tag team dominance. It is also about the paths that have led each of these men here, their triumphs and tragedies, their heartbreaks and successes, and how they have molded Santana, Ortiz, Dax, and Cash.
On Wednesday night, at FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN 2021, two of the most elite tag teams in all of professional wrestling will lock horns, and while only one team can win this battle of superiority, everyone watching in Charlotte, NC or live on TNT will be a winner for experiencing it.
SIX MAN BOUT...
Christian Cage & Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus)
The H.F.O (Angelico, Isiah Kassidy, & Marq Quen)
The growing bond between Christian Cage and Jungle Boy has now grown to include the entirety of Jurassic Express, and that connection has now also turned JurEx into enemies of The Hardy Family Office, especially after how Christian Cage clearly defeated Matt Hardy during night one of FYTER FEST 2021. Whatever excuses Hardy has concocted in his own head, whatever garbage he feeds his clients or The Young Bucks, the hard reality is that Matt lost to his long-time rival, cannot handle it, and thus all associated with Cage are in the crosshairs.
That's what happened to Marko Stunt, that is why Christian Cage, Jungle Boy, and Luchasaurus issued this challenge to The HFO in response to that assault, and clearly the fact that it was made for Hardy's home state is no coincidence. Will “Big Money” Matt actually show up to support the people fighting in his name, the one's being paid on his dollar, or is he still licking his wounds from Christian Cage taking the win several weeks ago?
(#2) Thunder Rosa vs. Julia Hart
Officially speaking, Thunder Rosa is on a sixteen match win streak as a singles competitor dating back to a March 6th victory over Tesha Price. Since then, Rosa has bested one tremendous competitor after another (including, unofficially, Dr. Britt Baker) before hitting that sweet sixteen on Monday night with her DARK: ELEVATION triumph over Myka Madrid. Now finally on board as an official member of the AEW roster, Thunder Rosa will have her opportunity to make it number seventeen with a FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN bout against one of the top prospects in the women's division.
Julia Hart, still in her first six months as a competitor, has already stepped into an AEW ring with Dr. Britt Baker, Kris Statlander, Hikaru Shida, Penelope Ford, as well as Red Velvet, and looked quite impressive in doing so. Hart displays a confidence beyond her experience, and has all the tools to become a real player in the Women's Division.
This Wednesday night in the Queen City, Hart will have another tremendous opportunity on her plate when she and Thunder Rosa lock up on DYNAMITE! Will this be another learning experience for Julia, or will it be a breakout moment that comes with scoring the biggest upset in AEW's history?
“Absolute” Ricky Starks, fresh off an injury and competing in his first match in weeks, conspired with his Team Taz cohorts at FYTER FEST 2021, NIGHT 1 to steal the FTW Title from “The Machine” Brian Cage. To say Cage is less than pleased may be the understatement of the decade, but that isn't going to stop Starks from celebrating his championship victory at FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN, and he aims to do it, paraphrasing his words, “by showing up and showing in absolute fashion”!
What will Brian Cage do in response? After all, there is no way he's letting this celebration go off without throwing in some party favors of his own. Tune in Wednesday night to see how the former FTW Champion congratulates the new one on his victory!
In short, we will believe it when we see it...
Between that Dark Order/Page versus Elite 10-Man Tag, Chris Jericho second labour against Nick Gage, the IWGP United States title bout, and the much anticipated bout between FTR and Santana/Ortiz, this Wednesday night in Charlotte looks to continue the amazing return to the road AEW has experienced thanks to our fans! Plus, as announced last week during DYNAMITE, Tony Khan will have a major announcement regarding a new live event!
The Bojangles Coliseum will no doubt be rocking all night long, and limited tickets are available right here (Read Here)! If you can't join us live and in-person, be sure to tune into FIGHT FOR THE FALLEN 2021 LIVE on TNT at 8pm EST, or on AEWPlus.com for our International Audience!
Before that, head on over to the official AEW YouTube channel to get hyped for DYNAMITE and catch up on the latest episodes of DARK: ELEVATION, AEW DARK, ROAD TO..., as well as all the other content available to you, the AEW faithful!