AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back for another week great matches as AEW and NXT fight tooth and nail with their in-between-PPV spectaculars! Last week had some really great matches on hand, though suffered from a comparably less exciting main event that probably led to NXT just barely edging them out on the ratings. Can AEW improve upon the already great showing they had last week and make a great show for the ages, or are they just gonna hand another week of bragging rights to the other show? Let’s find out!!
Kenny Omega & Hangman Adam Page Vs. Private Party – Tag Team Championship Match
Private Party are accompanied to the ring by Matt Hardy
The big problem with the Omega/Hangman tag title run is the lack of tension; both in terms of the matches themselves as there aren’t many teams who seem to stand a chance against them, and as far as the storytelling as there’s no real beef between them or any of their recent opponents. Belt chases are fine and enough justification for SOME title matches, but Omega and Page as champions simply don’t have anything else going on. Heck, everyone in the division seems to LIKE them as the champs, and they’ve only fought nominally face tag teams these last two weeks, so where are the bitter rivalries; the reasons to fight OUTSIDE of just the belt? Heck, this would have been a good chance for Private Party to heel out just a bit as Omega and Page seem to be taking them lightly (Omega starts the match by giving Marq Quen a lot of room to strut his stuff, but it’s clear that he is in control the entire time), so a few mean spirited shots or even a low blow could be enough to take Omega and Page into overdrive; giving Private Party the proper challenge they deserve and making this match have some genuine pop to it. Instead, it’s just a VERY well done match between the two teams which I guess is more than you’d get from tag team matches at other companies, but it still feels like they could have done more with this. The ebb and flow start to even out a bit as the match goes along, but you still don’t get the sense the Private Party is on an equal level; especially when Page and Omega take turns fighting both of them off on their own. Frankly, the only time I was concerned for the champs here was when Omega takes a bump to the outside and grabs his shoulder which is troubling as the guy MIGHT have been fighting hurt for a while now and I don’t want him to burn himself out only one year into AEW. In any case, Private Party go for the Gin and Juice on Page, but Kenny interrupts with the V-Trigger which allows Page to reverse his predicament into an Avalanche Liger Bomb on Kassidy. With Marq Quen outside the ring, Kenny and Omega land the Last Call on Isiah Kassidy which gives Page the pin and continues the team’s unbeaten streak. Like I said, the in-ring action was fine, but I’m having trouble caring about the individual matches these two have when they feel rather arbitrary and without a compelling story to tell. Also, why was Matt Hardy even there!? You get Matt Hardy to show up at ringside, and then don’t do anything with him!?
Joey Janela Vs. Lance Archer
Lance Archer is accompanied to the ring by Jake Roberts
Lance Archer comes out not just with Roberts but with Sonny Kiss on his back who he throws at Joey Janela before going to work on the guy. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I would LOVE to see him pull that kind of stunt and get immediately DQed by the ref which sadly doesn’t happen here, but it’s still a fun match nonetheless. Joey Janela is almost an outlier in this technique-driven promotion as his charm is in his rough and tumble devil may care attitude and in a match where he’s CLEARLY outmatched, it can work as his unpredictability can lead to some fun moments. Dude doesn’t waste time jumping from high places to try and use his body as a fleshy cannonball against the MURDER HAWK, but sadly for him it’s not enough to even slow the guy down. Joey then proceeds to be his punching bag for like five minutes with selling that’s probably not at the level of Hogan Vs. Shawn Michaels, but it’s certainly a spectacle to see. Perhaps that’s a bit unfair though as Joey does get a pretty sizable comeback facilitated by Sonny Kiss (who’s apparently just fine) distracting Lance at every turn, and Joey even manages to reverse Archer’s Blackout Slam for a two count. However, it is not meant to be as Archer eventually gets the advantage again and not only lands the Blackout Slam, but does so from the apron onto a table outside the ring. This was a really fun spectacle that did a lot to make Joey look good and the only way I’d have really improved this is if it was a genuine handicap match instead of just having Sonny on the outside.
We get a Darby Allin video where he tells us that he hasn’t forgotten about Brian Cage who I GUESS is responsible for him being injured (the ladder spot with him was nowhere NEAR as bad as the one he did himself) and that he’ll get his revenge at some point. He then does a coffin drop into a pool filled with fluffy things instead of water. I don’t know what they’re called; the foam things you find in like a gymnasium to cushion the fall
Tony Schiavane introduces Brian Cage and Taz who come out to announce… that they have a belt I guess? Apparently Taz has something called the FTW World Championship which everyone in the crowd seems to recognize but for the life of me I have no idea what it is, and he gives it to Brian Cage because… I guess he KNOWS Cage is gonna win against Moxley next week and so he wants to give him a belt now to wear in the meantime. Trust me, Taz makes this sound WAY more compelling than I do, but does this mean its Taz’s job now to needle WWE? Last week he had the Sloppy Shop comment which was a great jab against them, and now he’s doing this belt thing at the same time that there’s an odd belt angle on one of the WWE shows (I honestly couldn’t tell you which one) where MVP brought out a brand new Championship belt for Bobby Lashley despite him not being the US Champion. If that’s the case I’m not sure I like it because it’s already feeling a bit forced, but Taz is still a compelling force of nature and is doing a great job of hyping up the match that, barring yet another disaster, will take place next week.
The Young Bucks & FTR Vs. The Butcher and The Blade & The Lucha Bros – Eight Man Tag Match
FTR in AEW has yet to really click for me even if their in-ring performance has. I’m starting to get why they’re considered such a huge name in Tag Team Wrestling, but I’m not sure what they’re going for as far as the storyline with them. The best I can figure is that they’re tweeners since they beat up the bad guys but are still snippy with the babyfaces, but even then they seem to prefer waiting in the wings for something to happen instead of leading the charge for their own dominance in the division, and while I guess you could argue that the Empty Arena era means that everyone has to go a bit slower to stretch things out, it’s just not been as interesting a journey to watch as I would have hoped. Fortunately this match gave them a real shot in the arm; perhaps not as far as storytelling which is just kinda meh, but by making one of the more exciting tag matches we’ve seen in a very long time! To try and recap every move, or even a majority of them, would be an arduous task and I’m sure you wouldn’t particularly enjoy reading it, so I’ll just hit some of the highlights. There’s a spot where Rey Fénix and Nick Jackson are in the ring and they both jump up the ropes like a traipse act before Nick makes one final jump to land a Hurricanrana onto Rey from the top ropes where he goes spinning down to the mat! Oh, but don’t think he doesn’t get his revenge as later in the match he somehow manages to do something even more outrage to Nick! Pentagón Jr is on the floor and Rey jumps off his back to meet Nick who is standing on the middle rope. Rey JUMPS OVER NICK, GRABS HIM ON HIS WAY DOWN, AND DOES A FREAKING CANADIAN DESTROYER IN MID-AIR; LANDING ON EVERYONE ELSE BELOW! WHAT!? Holy schnikes, was that the most amazing thing I’ve seen in a heck of a long time, and the match was almost at that level all the way through! That seems to have been the tipping point though as they knew they weren’t gonna top that, so The Lucha Bros land the LB Driver on Nick which Pentagón immediately covers to get the pin. This was an exciting match all the way through that you should go out and see if you haven’t already, and I’m sure there were lots of impressive moves that I didn’t even catch the first time around! The only drawbacks I’d say are the story of the match which just felt basic and I’m still not sure where they’re going with it (FTR and The Bucks learn that they work really good together), and The Butcher and The Blade don’t exactly stand out when put next to the other three teams here. Still, they did their jobs of being cannon fodder for the other teams, and even if the story doesn’t exactly move forward anytime soon, as long as the matches are THIS good I’m only going to complain a little bit!
We cut to outside the stadium where Big Swole has just arrived and has been served paperwork by an AEW rep confirming that she’s been suspended due to her actions against Britt Baker. Okay… I’m not sure that cutting the legs out from under their rivalry by making them stay apart is the best idea, but let’s see where this goes.
Nyla Rose Vs. Kenzie Paige & Kilynn King
Both of these Jobbers look absolutely terrified to be in the ring with Rose which is kind of funny since King has got to be at least two inches taller than her, but in any case this is just your basic squash match albeit with a handicap to make it look all the more impressive and only gives me hope that we’ll get Joey and Sonny Vs. Lance Archer sometime soon! So yeah, a total farce of a match as these two fail over and over again to land even a halfway decent move on Rose, and while King gets an okay sleeper hold on Rose, it doesn’t take long for the Native Beast to knock them both out and pin them at the same time. It was fun enough for how little screen time it had.
After the match, Rose takes the mic and announces that she’s hired a manager to help her regain her spot as the top woman at the company. Who is the manager? We have no idea because she refuses to tell us just yet, but it’s an enticing proposition to be sure! Rey Mysterio is working without a contract at WWE, so perhaps this is how he’s gonna join the AEW team? Okay, probably not, but there’s an endless list of talented people out there who could fill that role!
We get a video of something that happened earlier today where Colt Cabana is getting examined by a doctor for a REALLY nasty looking bruise all along his left side, but he’s cleared to wrestle which is of relief to Brodie Lee. I’m not sure if it was an injury from his last match (if it was, they would have shown a clip of it), but the implication seems to be that Brodie Lee was behind his system as some sort of devious step in his own D.E.N.N.I.S. system. In any case, it’s time for their match which I’ll be honest, is probably my most anticipated match of the night! Maybe not as good as Jericho Vs. Orange Cassidy will be or as absurdly well-choreographed as the eight-man tag match, but certainly the one with the most interesting implications as Colt Cabana’s heel turn is either going to reach its crescendo and push The Dark Order into the big leagues, or they’re gonna squander this perfect chance they have to make the faction a legitimate threat.
SCU Vs. The Dark Order (Brodie Lee, Stu Grayson, and Colt Cabana)
The Dark Order is accompanied by Evil Uno and The Creepers
In case it wasn’t clear already, I LOVE The Dark Order who started off as an absolute joke but have found a really fun niche here at AEW and got a real coup in Brodie Lee who’s doing a great job even since he joined AEW. A win here feels REALLY necessary to keep their momentum going, but regardless of that how is the match itself? It’s pretty good! Stu Grayson gets A LOT of time to show off in this match which is great to see as he’s barely had a chance to tear it up in the ring at AEW. Colt Cabana is going into this match injured which means he barely gets to do anything before he’s incapacitated and needs to be backed up by his Dark Order buddies. It’s perhaps A BIT too corny as Colt Cabana is utterly bewildered by the help he’s getting from Brodie Lee and Stu Grayson who in turn present the crumpled members of SCU to him on a silver platter, but I liked the in-ring work from The Dark order. The match comes to a head when Daniels has Stu dead to rights but Cabana gingerly breaks up the pin. At this point Daniels confronts Colt Cabana and even punches him in the face which Brodie Lee retaliates with one of his hellacious Discus Lariats, and with Daniels thoroughly discombobulated, Cabana is able to get the pin and has yet another win under his belt. This wasn’t the match that I wanted it to be, but it was still a solid match. I still feel that they need Cabana to UNEQUIVOCALLY become a heel for this angle to work and it felt like having him face SCU would be the perfect opportunity to do so, but sadly it just didn’t happen and I’m still unsure what Cabana’s deal is. He seems completely oblivious of his own actions which just I just don’t find very compelling.
Brit Baker is passing notes to Schiavone from her throne as usual when Big Swole comes up and just starts yelling at her which frankly goes absolutely nowhere. This has gone from a delightfully amusing conflict between these two into something… well, kind of distressing? I don’t know, it was fun when Swole was tossing trash on an indigent Britt Baker, but now Swole is violating a restraining order of sorts, and when she throws a piece of paper Baker starts faking an injury to try and weaponized the her whiteness against a woman of color. I know the whole “Karen” thing is kind of a meme, but it’s just not what I want to see right now.
Orange Cassidy Vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho is accompanied to the ring by Proud N Powerful
The two men most likely to move the needle as far as ratings seems like a good combination, and yet their segment on the go-home show two weeks ago did REALLY badly in ratings for whatever reason, so there were probably some frayed nerves going into this match on the side of TNT, and while I couldn’t tell you if the ratings were any better here than their last confrontation, this is definitely a match that SHOULD move ratings… eventually at least. Cassidy gets an early advantage but it’s not long before he finds himself in a Lion Tamer for quite a while before slowly making it to the ropes only to find Oritz with the loaded sock to smash him in the back. Orange Cassidy is done for far too long after that as Jericho tossing him all over the ring for a few minutes, and it just doesn’t have the fire that the Go-Home show confrontation had. Jericho spends most of this time simply mugging for the audience while Cassidy writhes around on the floor, and it doesn’t feel like the best use of either of their talents. There is a decent Ref Aubrey spot though where Jericho has Cassidy in some sort of hold and keeps going for the ropes for leverage which is apparently a no-no and after repeated warnings, Aubrey just kicks his hand off of it. That was pretty amusing, but Ii isn’t until there’s only five minutes left that Cassidy gets his big comeback which starts with some forearm strikes, continues with a Head Scissors from the top rope, and finally a Superkick that gets Cassidy a near fall. They fight their way to the top rope where Cassidy eventually manages to toss Jericho off and follows up with a splash for yet ANOTHER near fall. Jericho tries to jump at Cassidy but misses and lands outside the ring at which point Cassidy jumps over the ropes and takes him out as well as Santana and Oritz. Jericho barely stumbles his way back to the ring which Cassidy is ready for by landing a Diving DDT for ONE MORE near fall. It’s like they were waiting for the clock to strike five minutes before they kicked things into gear which makes me wonder why they had to have a FIFTEEN MINUTE MATCH if that’s all they had for us, but I’m glad we finally got there. Visibly frustrated as his inability to put Jericho away, Cassidy goes for a Superman Punch which Jericho catches and puts Cassidy in the Lion Tamer which itself gets reversed into a cradle and gets another near fall for Cassidy. This gives Cassidy JUST enough of an opening to land a Superman Punch which lays them both out and fearing the worst, Santana and Oritz splash a half-gallon of orange juice into Cassidy’s face before The Best Friends run out to lay THEM out. Cassidy eats a baseball bat to the stomach from Jericho (good ol’ Floyd!), delivers a Codebreaker to Cassidy, and it’s… NOT the pin! So not only Jericho kicking out of everything that Cassidy throws at him, Cassidy is refusing to stay down for whatever cheap shots Jericho tosses his way! The match just keeps going as both guys are spent but find it within themselves to keep pulling super moves out of nowhere to no avail until Cassidy finally eats the dreaded Judas Effect and Jericho gest the pin to win the match and end the show. Most of it was kind of plodding, but that last six or so minutes were an AMAZING spectacle that I think could have worked on its own without the overly long buildup to it.
AEW Puppy Battle Royale – Who’s Bite Is Worse Than Their Bark!?
Right after the broadcast, we get this bizarre ten-minute segment which I can only assume is here to try and peel viewers away from the NXT main event. I guess it’s cute, and I like that each puppy has a wrestling sponsor who gives a little promo for their little puppy counterpart. In the Women’s Battle Royale, Hikaru Shida, Nyla Rose, Brandi Rhodes, and Penelope Ford hit the ring, sniff around a bit, bite the inflatable ref a few times, and then all but Ford’s little pupper walks out of the ring leaving her as the winner. In the Men’s Battle Royale, we have MJF, Orange Cassidy, and Jon Moxley, the latter of whom wins by not jumping out after two minutes, and he and Jon Moxley tear the ref to shreds right in front of the camera! Oh the humanity!! The best part of this was when Tony Schiavone admits that this is better than any match he called in 2000. OOOOOOHHHH! LATE STAGE WCW BURN!! So yeah, it’s just a fluff piece, but it was pretty entertaining and they promoted a charity for adopting animals (https://www.angelsrescue.org/) so a feel-good segment all around!
This was another great showing from AEW and a solid conclusion to their two-week Fyter Fest special. Which episode was better? Well it’s a bit hard to say for sure. Both had some AMAZING matches as well as some disappointing moments so I won’t split hairs and say that one or the other was better, though for me the Jurassic Express match from last week was my personal favorite even if I’m sure some will say the eight-man tag from this week was the best of them all. The bigger point is that while the fatigue is still THERE, I’m more excited about wrestling than I have been in a while thanks to these last few shows from AEW and I can only hope that they can keep up the momentum going into Fight For The Fallen and their long-delayed AEW Championship Match!