AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Shahid Khan, and TNT
Okay, so I had thought I posted this thing like three days ago but I guess with all the New Mutants and Bill & Ted excitement that I forgot to finish this darn thing and so here I am trying to put this thing together right before the next episode of the show is supposed to air. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to actually be BUSY doing this stuff which is in its own way a comforting bit of nostalgia (remember when we all got to DO things before the world came to a screeching halt?) and I’ll hopefully won’t be making this mistake again in the future; especially since we not only have another episode of Dynamite this week but a PPV on Saturday! Let’s get started!!
There was an announcement that AEW would be selling tickets to fans and I think this is the first week where that’s the case. The opening moments spend A LOT of time focusing on all the people in the crowd, and while it IS outside and they DO seem to be separated into clusters, it still makes me very nervous. In any case, Chris Jericho is on commentary tonight and gets a full entrance, while the wrestlers in the opening match to the Tag Team Gauntlet are already in the ring, so I guess AEW knows whose entrance is the money maker.
Tag Team Gauntlet Match – Number One Contender for the Tag Team Championship
Now I didn’t quite get what this was when they announced it (I thought it would just be a four way between the four teams) but thankfully the give us a quick rundown of the rules. It starts with The Nightmare Family and The Bucks, then the winner of that match immediately has to face Best Friends and then the winner of that has to face FTR. These kind of matches never really made sense to me as it doesn’t REALLY show who the best team is as one the freshest team will obviously stand the best chance and I think it works better in a Royal Rumble where you DON’T have to wrestle a full match to advance and there are ways to strategically recuperate if needed. Still, it should be fun to see all these teams go at it; especially with FTR as the final boss!
First Round – Natural Nightmares Vs. Young Bucks
QT Marshall is a great wrestler but is even better at making everyone else look good and he does a great job eating a bunch of moves from The Bucks before Dustin jumps in and runs wild for like a minute before gassing out completely and taking a prolonged breather. The Bucks though are polite competitors and give him a chance to catch his breath which proves to be a pretty big mistake because Dustin comes back very strong and he and QT take control of the match for a bit. Now in most tag matches this would simply be getting heat for The Natural Nightmares, but because this is a gauntlet match, it means that every minute The Bucks take punishment means they’re going into the next match that much worse for wear. QT Marshall has both Bucks in the ring and goes for a QT special which as far as I can tell is a flip in the ring followed by a back elbow, but The Bucks duck the blow and follow up with Superkicks. At this point The Bucks are in full control of the match and after a minute or two of moves Nick gets the pin on QT after both of them land a BTE Trigger.
Second Round – Young Bucks Vs. Best Friends
I think it might have been a mistake to have an ostensible Baby Face team in this second round of the match. The momentum is on The Bucks so you don’t buy for a minute that Best Friends are going to win, so I think a heel group who’s just there to cause damage would have been more effective. Maybe not The Lucha Bros as they LEGITIMATELY should win, but if The Butcher and The Blade was out here? Oh heck yeah! I would DEFINITELY buy them just beating up The Bucks just to undercut their matches in the finals. As it is, Trent and Chuck fight a good match here against The Bucks and both teams get quite a few moments to show off. The Bucks as usual do a lot of flips and whatnot, but Trent gives Nick an AMAZING Spear and he controls a good chunk of this match after that. At one point he goes to Powerbomb Matt on the apron, but Matt gets out of it, gives Trent a Superkick, and follows up with a German Suplex on the apron which is where I probably would have ended it there as it was the high note of the match, but wait! IT’S NOT GOING WHERE YOU THINK IT WILL!! The Bucks eventually get the advantage and have Trent ready for the Meltzer Driver… and then Adam Page comes out of nowhere, holds Nick Jackson’s leg so he can’t do the drop kick, and Trent rolls up Matt for the win! The Best Friends advance to the finals and The Bucks just starred stunned daggers into Page who sheepishly walks out of the stadium. They’ve been holding off on Page’s heel turn and seemed to have been focusing more on Omega turning heel in recent weeks, but with this move it looks like they’re finally ready to get their original plans for the guy back on track.
Final Round – Best Friends Vs. FTR
FTR is accompanied to the ring by Tully Blanchard
The previous match had a really good twist ending, but the way it plays out pretty much makes this final match perfunctory; so much so that most of it happens during the Picture in Picture commercial break. It’s not much long after we return that Dax gets Chuck to tap out; winning the match and earning a title match at All Out. It was a solid series of matches and I’m glad that they managed to pull off a legitimate surprise for me, but I found that the in ring action itself started to lose steam in the second half.
Lance Archer Vs. Sean Maluta
Archer is accompanied to the ring by Jake Roberts
Lance Archer definitely feels like he got lost in the shuffle after losing to Cody, especially since his highest profile match since then was against Joey Janela, but for what it’s worth the guy IS a huge talent and very few are as good at making a squash match look BRUTAL as him. He tears him to pieces, hits him with the Blackout, and smashes his head into the canvas before finally pinning him out of mercy.
Jake Robert takes the mic and talks about the Casino Battle Royale that will take place at the All Out PPV which Lance will SURELY win, because he’s big, he’s scary, and he’s looking to get back on track after losing to Cody! But wait! He’s not the only one with skin in that match as Ricky Starks and Brian Cage come out with Taz; the latter of whom starts cutting a promo on Jake Roberts and Lance Archer! Taz confirms that their faction is called TEAM TAZ and that either Ricky or Cage is going to win that match! Before their stare down can lead to a fist fight, Darby Allin’s music hits and he just starts beating the hell out of Ricky Starks all the way to the back! Oddly enough, neither Cage or Taz seem the slightest bit concerned about this as they continue their stare down with Jake and Lance which I found pretty hilarious. You don’t often see heels going at each other’s throats like this, and there are few people as good on the mic as Jake and Taz, so seeing them get in each other’s faces like this is exactly what’s needed to make the Battle Royale come off as more than sideshow at the event.
We get a promo to set up the Women’s World Championship match; telling the AEW audience all about Thunder Rosa with the help of some NWA footage and the voice of owner Billy Corgin who just seems happy that the NWA is even being MENTIONED on national television. I still don’t think it’s enough to make this match a PPV seller (they really need to have some sort of confrontation in the ring), but I’m glad we’re at least getting SOMETHING that helps all of us who are out of the loop about this wrestler.
AEW Championship Contract Signing – What Does MJF Have Up His Sleeve!?
MJF comes out to the ring with his entire entourage as well as his lawyer who looks ready for a fight himself, and Moxley comes out thru the arena with nothing but his title belt and a copy of the contract. As soon as Moxley sits down, MJF just starts tearing into him for taking inspiration from garbage wrestlers like New Jack and Sandman while he follows in the footsteps of the best. Buddy Rodgers, Ernie Ladd, Tully Blanchard; none of whom I’ve ever actually seen wrestle, but I guess that’s kind of proving MJF’s point here; Moxley appeals to the lowest common denominator while HE’S a prodigy. He’s the kind of wrestler that TRUE wrestling fans can appreciate and carries himself with class, though he also takes a shot at his hairline which Moxley just laughs off as the pathetic attempt to needle him that it is. What DOES actually bite is when MJF goes even lower by making a crack at Renee Young and Jon Moxley gets up which immediately sets off MJF’s lawyer who starts screaming and tells Jon he’ll SUE HIM!! Despite all the verbal nonsense spilling out of MJF’s mouth, it comes down to whether Moxley is willing to face MJF on his absurd terms (the Paradigm Shift is banned from the match), and while I probably would have told him to piss off and come back when he’s not acting like such a baby, Jon Moxley has something MUCH better up his sleeve. Moxley signs the forms and MJF’s team celebrates, but he informs them that he added something to the end of the contract that MJF didn’t bother to read before he signed it. Apparently it says that he gets a match with MJF’s lawyer next week, one where the Paradigm Shift is completely legal, and if the lawyer bails then MJF won’t get his match. I had to look it up and MJF’s lawyer is a guy named Smart Mark Sterling who is indeed a professional wrestler but is ALSO a legitimate lawyer, so even though I doubt it’ll be a COMPETITIVE match, the dude’s experience should make it a VERY entertaining one!
Santana and Ortiz have a promo after that to set up their match against The Best Friends which I THINK is next week and not on the PPV. It’s an alright promo, but it’s HEAVILY edited with background music and AEW footage which I felt got in the way of their natural charm and charisma.
Lucha Bros & The Butcher and The Blade Vs. Joey Janela, Sonny Kiss, Griff Garrison and Brian Pillman Jr – 8 Man Tag Match
Lucha Bros & The Butcher and The Blade are accompanied to the ring by Eddie Kingston
I didn’t find a WHOLE lot that interested me about this match, but maybe I was just getting burned out by this point as we’d already gotten four matches and a bunch of segments already. Sonny Kiss actually looks really good here. His strikes hit with a lot more impact and his teamwork with Joey Janela has only gotten better. Speaking of Janela, he as well looks pretty good here as he wrestles like a genuine worker instead of relying on his overly goofy or overly violent shtick. Other than that though, nothing really stood out. Pillman and Garrison are fine but I didn’t get a real feel for them here, and the heel team is just as good as you’d expect them to be albeit spread out a bit thinly since all four have to have a chance to do stuff. After a few minutes of back and forth with the heels maintaining control for most of it, Pentagón and Fénix land some sort of draping stomp move on Pillman and Pentagón gets the pin. Kingston gets into the ring after that and says that these four men along with himself will be in the Casino Battle Royale, and that THEY will win! The match itself was kind of ho-hum, but this Battle Royale is quickly becoming my most anticipated match of the PPV, and they only announced it today!
Join The Dark Order – How Will Brodie Lee Celebrate His Title Win?
This is the first time that The Dark Order in its current incarnation (and with Brodie Lee) are in front of a live audience, and considering how underwhelming their reception had been prior to the shutdown this is perhaps the most important promo for them to cut since their inception, so let’s hope they know what they’re doing. The Dark Order (along with Colt Cabana) comes out with Evil Uno on the mic and everyone else carrying a coffin to the stage. Also for some reason, The Dark Order bought a bunch of… riding lawnmowers? I THINK the implication is that Stu Grayson bought them to celebrate because he LIKES riding lawn mowers, but it’s kind of a weird and distracting tangent to just toss out here. What also doesn’t exactly work here is the coffin which I expected Brodie Lee to be inside, but instead it’s a memorial to Cody who took a royal butt kicking last week, and when they open it they find… Ten The Creeper with a Nightmare Family temporary tattoo on his neck. This is… not the best The Dark Order has looked and Evil Uno seems to be rambling a bit. Thankfully Brodie Lee comes out with Ana Jay
Brodie Lee finally comes out along with Ana Jay and he makes a B-Line for Tony Schiavone and practically drags him into the ring to do an interview. He cuts a decent promo about how people always underestimated The Dark Order, how Cody’s open challenge policy ended as soon as he lost the belt, and even takes a moment to introduce Anna Jay as the Queen Slayer of The Dark Order. All of that is good, but things turn a bit sour for me when John Silver grabs the mic from Tony. He excitedly calls Brodie Lee the man, and for his reverence, he eats a punch from Brodie Lee. Again, maybe it’s just me but Brodie Lee shouldn’t be THAT kind of jerk to his own men. He should be SOMEWHAT mean and should definitely be downright despicable to his opponents, but I think the character works better when he sees the rest of The Dark Order as his family and not just convenient pawns for his own self-gratification. Dustin and QT are tired of hearing all this and run out to try and take out The Dark Order to get vengeance for Cody. Sadly, two doesn’t beat… I don’t know eight? Ten dudes? Scorpio Sky comes out next and he does a decent job taking out The Dark Order minions before coming face to face with Brodie Lee. Anna Jay slaps Scorpio Sky for the distraction which Brodie follows up with a lariat; leaving him to get pounded on by Stu Grayson. At this point Brodie Lee and Anna Jay leave with Colt Cabana and as soon as they do, Matt Cardona comes out and takes out Evil Uno. With him, Dustin, QT, and Scorpio in the ring and Brodie Lee in the back, they manage to overtake The Dark Order; making their intention clear to go to war with them for what they did to Cody. Well… maybe not Scorpio Sky who seems to just want the title, but the enemy of their enemy is their friend, at least for the time being! I didn’t LOVE this segment. The Dark Order being at the top of the card and having to carry this title picture might not end up working out as they could face similar stumbles that they did at the end of last year (seriously, what was up with those lawn mowers?), but I still really enjoyed this segment and I’m curious to find out who Brodie Lee faces in his first TNT Title defense.
Adam Page is getting interviewed at the bar and before he can answer a question, The Young Bucks storm in and start flinging accusations; calling him an insecure jerk and a worthless drunk. Matt Jackson in particular comes off REALLY great here as he sounds genuinely heartbroken about all this, and he officially decrees that Hangman is OUT of The Elite! That was a pretty good segment, though I definitely hope we get more from Page (and ESPECIALLY Kenny Omega) before we get to the title match at the PPV.
Big Swole Vs. Britt Baker, Penelope Ford, and Reba
Britt Baker is technically in this fight according to the match card, but she’s still in her wheelchair and stays well outside the ring while Rebel and Ford take turns attacking Swole. It’s more or less a squash match as Big Swole doesn’t have much trouble against both of them, and frankly Ford would have done a much better job if she fought on her own which I guess was the point. Big Swole lands a decent top rope Hurricanrana on Reba and goes for the pin, but Kip Sabian still felt the need to distract the ref. After taking out Sabian, Swole eats a kick from Penelope Ford before Reba lands a Moonsault and gets a two count. Ford continues the assault while Reba takes a crutch from Baker and tries to waffle Swole over the head with it. Naturally, Reba misses and hits Ford in the face which allows Swole to get the win. Supposedly this means that Swole and Baker will be facing off at All Out which I hope will be a good match. The feud worked best when it was Swole and Baker DIRECTLY confronting each other, and all this extra stuff with lawsuit threats, Reba, and even Ford who on her own is GREAT but here feels perfunctory, has done little to make the feud feel that much more important.
Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, and Anna Jay return to ringside and offer a Dark Order contract to Tay Conti who Anna Jay apparently teamed up with in the Tag Tournament. She accepts the contract so hopefully this means The Dark Order will be making moves within the women’s division and we’ll have even more storylines to work with other than the title chase and whoever Baker is beefing with.
Matt Hardy Vs. Sammy Guevara – Tables Match
There are less than ten minutes left on the show by the time this match gest started, and this is supposed to be the main event. If that wasn’t bad enough, we only get TWO minutes of action before we go to a picture in picture commercial! WHAT!? And on top of THAT, goes thru a table during the picture in picture segment without losing the match. I guess someone has to PUT you thru a table and you simply go thru a table by accident which for all I know have ALWAYS been the rules when it comes to Tables matches, but this excuse just reminds me of a TNA match where someone was put on a table which then unexpectedly collapsed and they just kept going while the announces tried to justify it. The in ring action is fine I suppose as both Sammy and Matt are game to destroy themselves going thru this table, but there’s barely anything to speak of because of how short this match is and how little genuine fanfare there is to see this feud come to a conclusion. Matt eventually pulls out a table that says DELETED on it and puts it in the middle of the ring. Sammy is placed on it, Matt tries to get to the top rope, but he slips off and Sammy runs up to superplex him into the table; getting the win. Before the episode comes to a close, Orange Cassidy comes out of nowhere and attacks Chris Jericho from the announce table; brawling all over the stage as the refs try to break it up as the episode comes to a close. Not much to speak of as this MIGHT be one of the least engaging main events we’ve ever gotten on the show. Thank goodness we’ve still got one more episode before the PPV.
Not EVERYTHING on this show as great, but I was happier than not with the episode overall. The Dark Order didn’t nail their big celebration, a lot of the matches felt perfunctory and the main event was a TOTAL disappointment, but they are doing some fantastic work setting up matches for the upcoming PPV. The Jon Moxley and MJF fight is going to be what sells this PPV because they nailed the contract signing here, and I’m really looking forward to that Battle Royale considering whose going to be in it and the ridiculous carnage that can ensue. The Go Home show has GOT to be better than this, but it definitely did its job of making All Out look like a show worth watching.