AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
The Revolution PPV, for all its faults (and lack of explosions), was a fun and certainly impactful show with a lot of stories coming to a close, a few new alliances made, and the debut of Maki Itoh who is THE BEST WRESTLER EVER! With such a big show behind them, there’s a lot of weight on this episode of Dynamite; not just to build on the good stuff but to course correct on a lot of its mistakes. Does this right the ship and give us a fantastic follow up to the PPV, or will they simply be unable to salvage the disappointing ending of that show? Let’s find out!!
Rey Fénix Vs. Matt Jackson
Rey is accompanied to the ring by Pac and Matt is accompanied by Nick Jackson
Okay, so was I the only one confused for the first few minutes? Perhaps I’m just bad at paying attention to things, but I thought that AEW was jumping right into the title defense just FOUR DAYS after Death Triangle earned their shot! Thankfully that’s not the case as it would have been WOEFULLY rushed, and as you’d expect from these two, they do put on a great match. Starts with a bit of feeling out as no one is going all out to start with, but Fénix is the first to start putting some weight behind his moves and gets the early advantage. So many dives, so many flips, and Matt Jackson just gets caught up in the middle of it without much defense to speak of. Perhaps Jackson is selling an injury as I have no doubt that SOMETHING hurts on the guy, but it’s not until he somehow reverses a Top Rope Hurricanrana into an Avalanche Powerbomb (yes, those are real moves and these guys are pulling them off) that he gets an edge in the match. They go back and forth for a bit, but Jackson manages to land a Canadian Destroyer not once but TWICE on Fénix back to back (and the second one was on the floor!) which knocks him dead for a solid nine count before barely managing to roll back in. It looks like its Jackson’s match to win as he keeps one step ahead of Fénix for the rest of the match, but Fénix manages to reverse a Pile Driver from Jackson into a Pile Driver of his own (don’t ask; these guys are wizards) and Fenix manages to get the pin. It was a good match, but I couldn’t help feeling that it was just way too soon to see this. I mean we’re not gonna wait until Double or Nothing to do the tag match, but there’s got to be a big TV event they’ll want to build up to in the next few weeks and there’s no reason that this match had to be done RIGHT NOW, right? The Bucks like to start the show off strong and in most cases I’m in favor of them having a fun opening match, but this felt like a waste as they have definitely simmered this for at least a week or two with a few decent promos for AEW to get the most bang for their buck out of seeing these two go at it.
After the match, we cut to a video of Moxley and Kingston; the former wearing wrap-around hangover shades to disguise the fact that he’s asleep, and the other wearing a DMX hoodie like the old man that he is. Now apparently Tony Khan DID use my idea and the story now is that the explosion at the end of the match was in fact a giant dud because Kenny Omega sucks at making bombs. Because they’re going with that story, they now have to come up with a way for it to make sense that Kingston sold it the way he did. It turns out the dude has an anxiety disorder and so he had a panic attack while waiting for the explosion to go off. Yes, apparently Eddie Kingston is part fainting goat and he’s ready to fight anyone who has a problem with it. The two of them spend the rest of the video roasting Kenny Omega for his lousy bomb and reaffirming that they are friends again which is frankly the most interesting outcome that could have happened in that match! I’ve been saying for over a year now that Moxley needs some friends to watch his back as his loner attitude is holding him back, so while I don’t know where Butcher & Blade & Bunny are gonna fit into all this, I’m genuinely excited to see a Baby Face leaning Kingston teaming up with Moxley. They have genuinely good chemistry as this video and several of their promos in the past have demonstrated, and bonding over the disappointing explosion is the kind of closure I’m sure some people needed after the end of the PPV.
Cody Rhodes Vs. Seth Gargis
Cody is accompanied to the ring by Arn Anderson
Gargis is a big dude, but he doesn’t stand a chance against Cody and taps out to the Figure Four Lock within one minute of the bell ringing. Perhaps this is more for Cody’s benefit as he’s surely still hurting after messing up his shoulder AND THEN getting into a ladder match at Revolution. In any case, Tony comes out to interview Cody but it’s soon interrupted by none other than Penta El Zero M who calls him out for being a loser and assures us that he can kick his butt. Not sure what brought this on as they weren’t the only two in the Ladder Match (and Cody isn’t the person Penta lost to), but the words start to sting when he brings Cody’s newborn daughter into this and frankly I’m all for the kind of blowout match that those two will surely have! That; and I’m glad that they’re at least doing SOMETHING to build up to it instead of just throwing it at us at the start of the show!
Orange Cassidy and Chuck Taylor are at an arcade to challenge Miro and Kip to yet another match. Gotta say, the nerve on this Chuck guy to not only ask for more as soon as he gets a whooping but to put a terrifying stipulation on the match on top of that, well foolhardy doesn’t quite capture it but it’s impressive none the less! If Miro and Kip accept this challenge AND they win the match, Chuck will be Miro’s butler FOR LIFE; a stipulation I’m unsure if AEW can enforce as I’m PRETTY sure it would go against the fourteenth amendment, but who even knows if the US Constitution exists within the fantastical world of wrestling? And to put a cherry on top of this enticing offer, the ring will be surrounded by arcade cabinets so they can throw each other into them with abandon!
IT’S STING! AGAIN! AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AN AGAIN!!
Okay, perhaps that’s a bit harsh. Sting gave a darn good performance in the Street Fight on the PPV, and those last few promos leading up to the match had some real meat to them unlike the seven or eight before them. It also looks like they’re going in a new direction with him because it’s not Taz that interrupts him this time, but Lance Archer who is sick of getting pushed to the margins while this old timer has gotten WEEKS of air time to basically stand around looking cool! YOU’RE SAYING ARCHER CAN’T STAND AROUND LOOKING COOL JUST AS WELL AS THIS GUY!? No one throws a punch just yet, but it’s clear that this is far from over! Will Sting get in the ring for a standard non-cinematic match? I kind of hope not considering the dude’s neck and back, but Edge came back with a lot of the same issues, so we’ll have to see where this all goes. Heck, maybe he’ll get in the ring with Jake Roberts! I mean they ARE only four years apart!
Ethan Page Vs. Lee Johnson
Johnson is accompanied to the ring by QT Marshall
I’m not down on Ethan Page, but he’s not exactly lighting up my world with this match. His “ego” gimmick feels a bit underwhelming as he’s complaining about spotlight percentages, but he DOES have a very good scary face that he pulls out whenever he’s playing to the crowd. Work wise it’s a bit hard to tell here as he’s fighting one of the smaller guys at the company, but he comes off as a methodical brute; like Moxley without the grit or Pac without the acrobatics. Lots of pushing, lots of walking, some submission based mat work, all decent stuff but the match itself is kind of plain. There are a few highlights like a draping Back Breaker over the outside barricade, a Blue Thunder Bomb from Johnson, but Johnson is REALLY overselling his back and knee injuries and things drag a bit because of it. Johnson rolls out of the ring to plead with QT Marshall to do… something, but QT just stands there as Johnson grips his knee in pain. Page drags Johnson back into the ring and hits his Ego’s Edge (looks similar to Archer’s Blackout) to get the pin, but he still beats on Johnson even after the bell rings with QT still standing by doing nothing. Dustin eventually comes out to make the save which is when QT just walks out of the building so I guess his heel turn is well underway. Not exactly the most exciting match on the show and frankly this isn’t the most exciting angle as QT is hardly even there in the first place, but it did its job and it Ethan Page looked just fine in it.
Alex Marvez has found Hangman Adam Page who is celebrating his immense influx of cash with crates of whisky and a riding lawn mower; two things that PROBABLY shouldn’t go together, but at least he’s not drinking on camera while operating heavy machinery. He calls The Dark Order over so they can go get ice cream and everyone clambers aboard this thing… until Alan Angels tries to get on and everyone shoos him away as there’s a weight limit on the mower. Everyone else speeds off whooping away to get some delicious frozen treats while Alan Angels smiles through his sadness and says he’ll catch up with them later. VERY funny stuff, though I’m still curious what The Dark Order is going to do now and if there are any feuds planned for the near future. I think I’ve said this before, but whenever they do the Blood and Guts match that’s been postponed for over a year now, The Dark Order should be one of the factions in it!
Kenny Omega Lights The World On Fire – Too Bad He Couldn’t Do That To The Ring On Sunday!
Tony is out once again for an interview, this time with Christian Cage, but instead Kenny Omega comes out with his pals Don Callis and The Good Brothers who spend several minutes talking about the lousy explosion at the end of the Revolution PPV. Naturally they say that it was ALL part of the plan; that they WANTED Omega and Kingston to be utterly humiliated in the middle of the ring laying there as little sparklers went off in the corners! Sure… I TOTALLY buy that… Okay, I don’t, but these guys are a bunch of craven heels so this is EXACTLY the kind of nonsense they’ll try to pull instead of confronting their own mistakes. Kingston eventually comes out to the ring and the four of them start laughing at him and Omega even gives him a chance to take a shot at him; a shot that he takes but is immediately followed by a beat down in the middle of the ring. IMMEDIATELY Moxley comes roaring out of the back and starts settling some accounts against these jerk bags which evens the odds a little bit, and Christian Cage comes out to have a stare down with Kenny Omega (backed by his pretty awesome entrance theme) while Moxley and Kingston have The Good Brothers occupied. Kenny stares back for a good minute before eventually Kenny taking a swing at the guy which Christian avoids easily and he starts to put him in some sort of move (I’m not familiar with Christian’s repertoire so I don’t know what it was), Don Callis grabs Omega and drags him under the ring and out of harm’s way. In his haste to get Kenny to safety, they accidently leave the belt in the ring which Christian holds up to the utter consternation of Kenny Omega. All of this stuff edges RIGHT up to Russo-era insider storylines where they tried to be as “REAL” with the crowd as possible, but in this instance I think it works here for a few reasons. The “shoot style” talking about the ring explosion is a jumping off point for better storylines like with Moxley and Kingston as well as whatever Christian Cage is going to be doing, and there’s a bit of leeway because it actually WAS something real as opposed to Russo who would make up a story and then SAY it was real. They threw a Hail Mary to try and get out of the hole they dug themselves into, and to their credit they managed to pull it off. However, this promo DID take things one step too far, and that’s when Kenny and Don start insinuating that Moxley and Kingston are gay because of the spot at the end of the match. It only gets worse when they start a fake countdown and Don and Kenny do a mock sixty-nine in the middle of the ring, and I understand that they’re supposed to be obnoxious heels that you boo, but that kind of stuff is just so far beneath AEW and frankly shouldn’t be given a pass. It was cheap humor that didn’t work in the slightest and I hope they never try that again. Aside from that, this was a solid promo and a good way to salvage the ending of the PPV match while also giving us something to look forward to in the coming weeks.
Hikaru Shida, Thunder Rosa, and Ryo Mizunami Vs. Britt Baker, Nyla Rose, and Maki Itoh – Six Woman Tag Match
Baker is accompanied to the ring by Rebel (Not Reba) and Rose is accompanied by Vickie Guerrero
If Sunday wasn’t enough to prove to you that Maki Itoh is going to be a star, then her opening here will seal the deal as she comes out to sing her theme song and doesn’t stop even as a brawl breaks out around her! SCREW all these people trying to take her spotlight with all this wrestling nonsense! This is HER time to shine and she’s going to use it! As soon as her song is done (and after she takes some VERY light mic shots at Shida), the match goes underway and Maki Itoh is the first in which was PROBABLY not the best idea as she gets UTTERLY DESTROYED by Shida and Ryo. Thankfully she gets to the corner before having to face off against Thunder Rosa as well, and Nyla Rose proves to be a tough opponent for Rosa to beat. The heels get the heat on her throughout the commercial break but she gets the hot tag on Shida who quickly sends Baker to the corner for all three of the Baby Faces to gang up on. Ryo has a weird and overly convoluted spot here where she has Shida put Baker up on the ropes and then Shida does a suplex onto Ryo… just so that her boots can hit the tied up Baker. Not exactly a Young Bucks combination move, but the match picks back up after that with a few more fun combination moves and Rosa landing a Cancun Tornado from the top rope to the crowd of Heels on the floor below. This momentum is enough for Rosa to completely dominate over Maki Itoh despite attempts to interfere from both Rebel (Not Reba) and Vickie, and she eventually gets the pin with a kinda scary looking Sit Out Pile Driver. Itoh SEEMS fine, but it looked like her head REALLY came down on that mat! Baker immediately starts attacking Rosa with Rebel’s crutch and manages to lock in the Lockjaw while her teammates are kept at bay. It was a decent match that introduced Maki Itoh to the Dynamite audience who didn’t see her on the PPV, but there were a few awkward spots here and there that took things down a notch. Rosa and Baker’s feud did not end up getting resolved in the Women’s Title Tournament as they were both knocked out before facing one another, so I guess we’re picking that thread back up now with this new heel faction. I hope it doesn’t JUST become about Baker and Rosa though as Maki Itoh and even Nyla Rose definitely bring a lot to the table and there just aren’t enough (by which I mean ANY) factions in the women’s division to rival the half dozen or so on the guys’ side.
Matt Hardy is in the back looking all sad and Private Party are doing their best to cheer him up. The praise falls well short of lifting his spirits however, but Hardy is not all doom and gloom as he’s already recruited some new people to join his faction that will put them back on top! Oh, is it The Hybrid2 who Hardy has ALREADY worked with in the last few weeks? NOPE! It’s The Butcher, The Blade, and The Bunny who awkwardly show up and just kinda stand around as Matt Hardy gloats about his acquisition. Perhaps it’s still coming, but I REALLY wish they would have at least TRIED to give them a Baby Face match or two with the reformed Kingston before calling it quits on this group!
Darby Allin Vs. Scorpio Sky – TNT Title Match
Darby is in control for the first part. Mostly mat work as he grounds the high flying Scorpio Sky with submission holds. Darby looks VERY impressive here. He often comes off as a guy who can only win by outlasting his opponent, but he is a genuinely athletic and agile guy with some impressive moves. Maybe not to the level of Sky’s, but that’s why he’s working so hard to keep him from soaring. So hard in fact that Darby starts selling an ankle injury after flipping over Sky’s back which is the start Sky’s comeback, though despite being more free to do so he still doesn’t do much high flying; opting instead for moves like Backbreakers, Irish Whips, and even a suplex that sends Darby crashing into the turnbuckle. I mean I guess he’s the bigger guy in the match so he doesn’t NEED to fling himself around but with a guy like Sky I was kind of hoping for a bit more flippy stuff! Despite the ceaseless offense against him, Darby manages to start mounting a comeback with a Stunner and a Code Red almost getting him the pin, and when he shoves Sky from the apron to the floor he tries going for a Suicide Dive to really knock him on his butt. However, Scorpio Sky manages to scout the move and somehow turns it from a Suicide Dive into a Cutter which was VERY impressive, but by the time Sky gets Darby into the ring and tries a pin, Darby is able to kick out at two. He’s just unable to put this guy away no matter what he throws at him so he decides to put Darby on the top rope to try something there. Darby manages to fight him off however and goes for the Coffin Drop, but once again Sky prove his scouting abilities and manages to catch him midair into a Powerbomb! Not taking any chances, Sky doesn’t go for the pink and picks him back up to finish him with a TKO, but Darby reverses it into a roll up pin and only just BARELY gest the three count. This was a darn good match that did its job of reminding everyone was Sky is such a great talent (they were pushing him for a while there but I guess other things got in the way), and the surprise reversal roll up was unexpected enough that it doesn’t really hurt his momentum even though I would genuinely like to see him have a run at TNT champ. The only thing that I’m less than excited about is the post-match angle where Sky goes full heel and attacks Darby’s bad ankle; a move so devious and devastating that it take four refs to break the hold. Well I guess that explains why he wasn’t doing that many Baby Face flippy moves, but it makes me wary of Sky going heel as there are perhaps TOO many heels at AEW and not enough new Baby Faces. Sure we’ve got guys like Cody, Moxley, The Bucks, and even Darby Allin, but it doesn’t feel like we’re training up THAT many new guys to be the top Baby Faces after they’re done and Sky would have been a good contender for that. Still, it was a good match and I’m always up for Darby defending his belt; let’s just hope that they have plans for Sky that don’t end up getting dropped six weeks later.
The Inner Circle War Council – Saving The Best For Last?
A non-match being the main event of the show is VERY rare on Dynamite, but I’m pretty sure that Jericho was involved every time they’ve done it and frankly it’s probably a more exciting way to end the show than the TNT title match. Jericho gives a speech to the crowd and insinuates that they will be adding a new member but MJF interrupts, to a roar of YOU SUCK chants from the crowd, and says that maybe they need to let someone go! What does he mean by that? Well before he can clarify, Sammy Guevara’s music hits and he comes out thunderous applause from the audience and the consternation of Jericho. Sammy is aware of Jericho’s feelings toward him but he has something he needs to show his former mentor that will CHANGE EVERYTHING! A video goes up on the titantron that reveals a hidden conversation between MJF, Proud N Powerful, and Hager where they ALL agree to kick Jericho out of the Inner Circle. Not just MJF, but the WHOLE crew! MJF is nonplussed by this revelation and figures it’s now or never so he sics his new boys on Jericho. The group that he brought together and built from the ground up is now staring him down ready to destroy him… EXCEPT THEY DON’T BECAUSE THEY TURN ON MJF!! That’s right! It was all a ruse to get MJF to incriminate himself! Okay, I’m not sure if ALL of it was a ruse and if Sammy getting angry and leaving was part of the plan, but the band is back together now and the newly reformed Inner tell MJF that he is FIRED! MJF starts cowering in the corner and begging for his life as he expects a beat down to come any second now… only to reveal that he has a NEW faction of his own! The lights go out, and when they come back on… FTR, Shawn Spears, Tully, and Wardlow are in the ring and start attacking The Inner Circle! Jake Hager gets brained by a glass bottle, Sammy is knocked silly by a chair, Proud N Powerful are handcuffed, and Wardlow twists the knife into Jericho by beating him in the corner! While all this is going on, MJF just sits on the turnbuckle with a dark expression on his face as he sees the fruits of his deceitful labor play out before him, and once Wardlow picks up Jericho off the ground, MJF smashes him over the head with the Dynamite Diamond Ring. He then eats a few bat shots from MJF before getting dragged to the stage and Wardlow Power bombs him into a table below. MJF has stabbed The Inner Circle in the back, and have become their greatest enemy; a very auspicious sight to behold as the episode comes to an end!
It’s hard to say that this episode was MISSING anything, but I still didn’t feel quite satisfied with it. We DID get new angles to start building off of, but most felt like one off matches that’ll be resolved in a few weeks and the MJF betrayal at the end was good but FAR from surprising. The matches were well done as expected, but some felt a bit premature like the opening match and others kind of ended things on an uncertain note for me like with the Scorpio Sky heel turn. The best angle in the show was probably the Main Event picture as I liked how they are trying to cover up the fact that the explosion was disappointing with a ridiculous justification, and I like that Kenny is not only in trouble with the combined force of Moxley and Kingston but now has to fend of Christian Cage who’s motives still remain a mystery. Even that though is brought down a few notches from the cringe worthy and tired gay humor that just felt unnecessary. The show piqued my interest in a few areas and there’s definitely more good than bad, but it definitely felt like a cleanup job than a bold new direction. Also, whatever happened to Shaq? He disappeared in that ambulance a week ago and no one has figured out where he went! Is he gonna blink back into our universe after becoming the hero of another realm, and are they gonna wait until the next PPV to do it?