Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (06-18-2021) – Friday Night Dynamite

AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT

We’re back with the final episode of Friday Night Dynamite as they have one more show on Saturday before returning to their usual Wednesday night timeslot.  It’s been an interesting few weeks to say the least with some great action but also one of the worst episodes they’ve had in some time.  Can they finish their time in this new timeslot with a bang, or are they just not gonna be able to get their groove back until they return to their familiar night?  Let’s find out!!

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Jake Hager Vs. Wardlow – Mixed Martial Arts Match

Considering that they have to set up the octagon and that I HIGHLY doubt a match like this would work as a main event, it makes sense that they’d do the MMA match right off the bat.  Personally, I’m not much of a fan of this kind of fighting.  Sure there are some good matches out there if you search YouTube for a bit, but I am not going to be able to judge this based on any legitimate mixed martial arts merits and only on whether I found it entertaining in some way.  That said, even someone as inexperienced as me can tell this is nowhere close to a shoot match considering they don’t have judges which means it has to end with one person beating the other.  Also they didn’t bother hiring an MMA ref and just have Aubrey out there.  I mean I GUESS she could be trained as an MMA ref, but I’ve certainly never heard of her doing that and the lack of known MMA professionals involved in this outside of Hager just makes it seem like a big game which I’m sure will annoy the MMA fans before the match even starts.  Once it DOES start… I don’t know; I guess it was alright.  If nothing else, I think they managed to find a decent balance between an actual fight and WRESTLING THEATER as it doesn’t feel TOO absurd as an MMA match, but it also feels like a highlight reel.  It starts off small with the two being extremely defensive and throwing out the occasional jab, but eventually Hager manages to take Wardlow down for a few shots which he doesn’t sell all that much.  In fact, by the end of the round Wardlow’s power completely overtakes Hager and spends the last two minutes punching him on the ground or against the wall.  Second match continues where the first left off with Wardlow maintaining an advantage, but Hager gets into the groove of things and his MMA training proves to be more than Wardlow can overcome and he eventually passes out from a Triangle Choke.  Of course there’s some brawling afterwards as Shawn Spears goes after Hager and MJF comes out of nowhere to attack Dean Malenko who ALSO came out of nowhere, but then Sammy comes out to chase everyone away and to ensure that this feud will be continuing for the indefinite future.  I couldn’t possibly tell you if this was a GOOD MMA match, but it was at least brisk enough that I never got bored in it.  Hopefully this does whatever it needed to for AEW, though I wouldn’t be too heartbroken if they don’t do this kind of match again.

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We cut to the back with Team Taz trying desperately to put on a brave face despite their recent setbacks which are all the more glaring as Brian Cage is nowhere to be seen.  Taz assures us that everything is fine and Will Hobbs tells of Ricky and Hook for leaving him alone in the ring last week before announcing next week’s match; Hobbs Vs Hangman Adam Page!  Should be a good match if nothing else, and I’m curious to see how everything falls apart here and where Cage ends up after splitting from Team Taz.

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Darby Allin Vs. Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky – Handicap Match

I went on quite a rant about this match (not just here but on my PODCAST!) and while I STILL think this is utter foolishness from a Baby Face, I will give the match a chance here in that perhaps he has a plan.  Perhaps he has something up his sleeve that Page and Sky aren’t expect that will allow him to come out on top and explain why he chose to do the match this way.  If nothing else, there is the concession that it’s a tag match which means the two can’t double team him from start to finish, and he only has to defeat one of them.  It’s probably still not going to be enough, but let’s see what happens!  It starts off well for Darby with a flurry of offense that ends with him getting a Coffin Drop on the both of them, but he only gets a two count from Sky.  Page tags in and starts attacking Darby, but before he gets tossed over the top ropes he wriggles out and puts a sleeper on Page and walks him around the ring for a bit.  Page eventually breaks the sleeper and gets the heat on Darby for several minutes, but then Darby manages to escape from Page’s hold and lands a Scorpion Death Drop which forces Page to tag in Sky.  With this second wind he rocks Sky with a Shotgun Drop Kick followed by a Code Red, but they’re too close to the corner and page breaks up the pin with ease.  Whatever Darby can pull off here is going to be undercut by someone else being able to break up the pin, so while Sky is arguing with the ref, Darby pulls out some zip ties and uses them to bind Page’s legs together while he tries to finish of Sky.  Once again, Darby turns Sky into mincemeat with a Stunner and a Coffin Drop, but Page still manages to drag Darby out of the ring despite being tied up at the ankles.  Page then finds a toolbox under the ring and uses something to cut the ties before going back to work on Darby.  If that was his master plan to even the odds, then it didn’t seem to work out as Darby is smashed face first into the post and eats an Egos Edge from Page who I GUESS is legal at this point and gets the pin on Darby; winning the match and proving… something.  I don’t know; I still don’t feel like this was in any way necessary and having Darby play into their hands so willingly is not something that endears me to his character, but he did put up a heck of a fight and at least had SOMETHING prepared going into this.

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Orange Cassidy Vs. Cezar Bononi

Cassidy is accompanied to the ring by Best Friends while Bononi is accompanied by The Wingmen

I was SO looking forward to this match and it does not disappoint!  Surprisingly, Cassidy does a lot of selling for Bononi throughout this; recoiling in pain after every punch, getting thrown around the ring with reckless abandon, it is the best that Bononi has looked in his short time with this company!  Then the match gets even better when Bononi tosses Cassidy out of the ring, and The Wingmen go to work giving him a makeover!  First the give him some hair gel and spray tan, and then when Bononi throws him out AGAIN he gets Nemeth’s jacket to complete the look!  The Wingmen are so fantastic in this role as goofy loveable jerks, and Cassidy with The Best Friends are a perfect foil for them; willing to get as goofy but still looking impressive in the process!  Cassidy starts bouncing around the ring and manages to trip Bononi into sliding outside the ring which Cassidy tries to follow up with a Dive only to get caught by all four dudes and thrown back in.  Kris Statlander then starts distracting the ref while Chuck and Trent run in to rip off Nemeth’s jacket and give Cassidy his sunglasses before giving him a boost over the rope; the added height being JUST what Cassidy needed to knock all four of The Wingmen to the ground!  It’s all good stuff, but there was one odd spot where Bononi catches Cassidy diving from the top rope and it LOOKS like Bononi is trying to slam Cassidy down.  However, it was actually supposed to be Cassidy landing his Stundog millionaire.  That didn’t look great, but Cassidy follows it up with a VERY good looking Rolling DDT, so it’s not much of a distraction from the match itself.  This DDT keeps Bononi down for quite a while and so Nemeth gets on the apron and starts yelling at Cassidy when Chuck Taylor comes sliding in… and that’s it!  He slides in and stops mere inches from Nemeth and gives him a thumbs-up; all of which distracts Nemeth and allows Cassidy to land an Orange Punch to knock him to the floor!  JD Drake then runs in and takes a swing at Cassidy but misses by a mile and runs into Statlander where he receives… A BOOP!  And then eats an Orange Punch from Cassidy.  Bononi is finally back up and tries to Supelx Cassidy, but he wriggles out from behind and hits him with an Orange Punch that topples Bononi over like a plank of wood!  Cassidy gets the pin, The Best Friends celebrate, and Peter Avalon is cradling the head of Bononi while screams his utter anguish to the heavens!  This match was EVERYTHING I could have wanted and more from these two groups meeting in the ring, and I BETTER be seeing more of The Wingmen on Dynamite because they are great and were the perfect punching bags for one of the most fun matches I’ve seen in a long time!

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Alex Marvez is in the back trying to get an interview with Jungle Boy when Omega, Callis, and even Nakazawa, roll up in a golf cart and start yelling at Jungle Boy!  Omega wants him to fight him right here right now which Jungle Boy is too smart to fall for… but when he’s offered the first punch he actually starts to consider it!  Now I thought Jungle Boy was going to hit Callis and that would just fuel Kenny Omega’s rage for their match on Saturday, but instead, Nakazawa comes from behind and smashes him in the back with a laptop!  Kenny and Jungle Boy then start brawling and as soon as Jungle Boy gets one halfway decent punch in, Omega and Callis hop in their golf cart and head for the hills!  Not Nakazawa though!  He tried to get in and Omega kicked him right back to distract Jungle Boy while he made his valiant escape!

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Matt Hardy is being interviewed in the back about his grudge against Christian Cage, and he explains that it’s due to a… breach of contract?  If I understand correctly, he’s referring to the handshake they had in the Casino Battle Royale which Cage used as a pretext for tossing Hardy out of the ring.  Before we can get further clarification though, Christian Cage runs in to attack Hardy but Hardy’s backup (Private Party & The Blade) grab him and throw him into a convenient metal cage that’s right next to where Hardy was being interviewed.  Through the holes in the chain link fence, Hardy offers Cage a retirement check which if he doesn’t accept and abide by will lead to Hardy ending his career the hard way.  I’m interested in where this goes I guess, but Big Money Matt is not the most compelling version of Matt Hardy and I think it’s the wrong Hardy to use for this kind of feud.

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Cody Rhodes & Brock Anderson Vs. QT Marshall & Arron Solow

Cody and Brock are accompanied to the ring by Arn Anderson while QT and Solow are accompanied by Nick Comoroto

It’s the big debut match for Brock Anderson, the son of Arn Anderson, and he’s got a bigger stage than most wrestlers will ever get for their first time in front of a crowd, so expectations are high for him to live up to the support and backing that he’s been given.  It starts off well enough with him and Solow as the guy has some skills in the ring, but he’s not in there for long before QT demands Cody to get in the ring and he tags out.  Cody starts out strong for a bit before Solow and QT get the advantage and start getting the heat on him; all the while Brock is on the corner looking… wooden.  If there’s one thing about Brock that doesn’t feel quite ready for prime time, it’s his presence as the guy can’t seem to go the extra mile of making his move set and selling feel natural instead of just a routine he’s competently memorized.  The worst has to be when he gets the hot tag and starts running over the two of them before getting cut off by QT.  You’re not supposed to look like you’re walking into someone’s move, but that’s exactly what happened when he ate a Spine Buster from QT.  Solow as the other greenish guy in the match looks a lot more natural in his movements, and even a guy like Hook who hasn’t had a match yet at least projects his father’s intensity.  Brock needs SOMETHING to make him stand out which he’ll hopefully develop the more time he has in the ring.  The Heels get the heat on Brock through the commercial break but eventually Brock is able to make break free and start going for his corner.  Solow tries to drag him away but instead Brock tosses him out of the ring.  Solow then tries to drag Cody off the apron and fails at that too.  Where he DOES succeed is that he distracts the ref for just long enough for him to not see the tag and so Brock is still in this which allows QT and Solow to hit him with some sort of Assisted Cutter that narrowly gets them the win as Brock kicks out at a very close two count.  QT goes for a Cross Rhodes but Brock reverses it into a DDT and FINALLY gets the hot tag to Cody.  It’s a tag so hot that he not only destroys Solow but drags QT into the ring just so he can beat him up and toss him out of the ring.  Cody then gets Solow to the top rope and is preparing for a Superplex, but QT runs in and tries to yank him off.  Cody manages to reverse this into a Canadian Destroyer on QT, but Solow manages to get the advantage and ALMOST wins with a Corkscrew Kick that’s broken up by Brock.  Brock is tagged in and QT and Cody fight it out on the ramp while Brock and Solow finish things up in the ring.  Solow goes for a Double Underhook Facebuster, but Brock grabs his legs, knocks him onto his back, and flips over to get the pin!   Brock can definitely be carried and he has the technical chops to sell a big finish like that, but he either needs to project more in his matches or come up with some sort of gimmick if he’s going to stand out among the giants at this company.  Still, not a bad start for the guy!

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We cut to a very familiar scene of Jake Roberts and Lance Archer in a condemned barn where the former laments about the latter getting all upset and ready to kill people to prove that he’s number one.  I’ve seen this promo from these two a hundred times, and I guess it’s never a BAD idea to remind people that Lance Archer is awesome, but as I said last week the guy just doesn’t seem to have a clear path to success and is doomed to being the beast every champion needs to slay to prove they are worth taking seriously.

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We finally get that interview between JR and Andrade.  It’s not much more than what you’d expect as Andrade says how great he is and that he wants title shots, he also praises Vickie for being such a professional in this business, and he promises some sort of surprise soon.  I can only hope that surprise is a match which if you ask me is the best way to get this guy over as quickly as possible!  Let his amazing in ring ability speak for itself!

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We cut to Alex Marvez who is interviewing Hangman Adam Page along with The Dark Order.  Page accepts Will Hobbs’ challenge, but once the subject turns to Kenny Omega he quickly shifts topics.  This is definitely the slowest burn storyline in all of AEW we are coming back to it every once in a while but there has been little progression in that time.  Hangman Adam Page is still reeling from his mistakes last year that led to the end of his friendship with The Bucks and the disillusionment of his tag team with Kenny Omega who THEN beat him for a chance at the AEW title.  He is at the Refuse The Call stage of his hero’s journey as he hangs out with these lovable losers to avoid facing his destiny; much like Simba living with Timon and Pumbaa instead of reclaiming the throne his uncle stole from him.  It really wouldn’t take much for them to kick this story into gear when they feel the time is right, but I’m really fascinated to see what The Dark Order’s role is in this feud between Omega and Page when it rears its ugly head.  Will they be supportive?  Will they make mistakes that slow Page down along the way?  Will it finally be the time for them to turn heel!?  Okay, probably not that last one, but I’m definitely interested to see where this long term story ends up going.

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Penelope Ford Vs. Julia Hart

Hart is accompanied to the ring by The Varsity Blondes

This is actually a FANTASTIC matchup if you ask me!  Julia Hart was very impressive in her match against Britt Baker and I’ve always thought that Penelope Ford was underrated and should have way more matches than she does.  Not only that, Hart is now part of the Varsity Blondes, and I just like seeing those guys whenever they show up!  The only thing missing is Kip Sabian who is still presumably healing from the beating he took from Miro which is a shame because Ford and Sabian have a lot of great in ring chemistry, but even with she puts on a decent show here.  It starts out strong for Ford but she keeps taking Hart lightly and keeps getting punished for it.  Still, Ford is the more experienced one and retakes the advantage every time Hart gets a hope spot which goes on for a few minutes and through the commercial break.  There’s a bit of a sloppy spot in the corner where Ford does a Cartwheel that seems to come up a bit short and so she walks the last step there and shoves her head into the middle turnbuckle.  Hart then carefully positions herself on Ford’s back and then does a roll up which Ford rolls out of and it seems like Hart wasn’t expecting that.  Not a great moment for either of them, but Ford gets back in control and lands a decent looking Gut Buster that leaves Hart writhing on the ground.  Ford goes to the top rope and goes for a Moonsault, but Hart rolls out of the way and she goes splat.  Hart tries to take advantage of this with a Splitting Leg Drop but Ford manages to avoid that and locks in the Indian Death Lock which Hart eventually taps out to.  Once she does tap however, Ford refuses to let go of the hold and The Varsity Blondes hit the ring.  I’m curious as to what their plan was, but I love the fact that Ford isn’t THE LEAST bit concerned and outright mocks the two jocks as they take care of Julia.  It wasn’t the best night for either for either of them but I’m still glad the match happened and I’d like to see them both get some more time in the ring.

Before everyone leaves the ring, none other than Miro comes out from the back and tells The Varsity Blondes to back off!  After all, Ford has had a rough time of it lately what with her husband being an injury prone weakling who SOMEHOW got himself injured recently!  To defend Ford’s honor, he rushes in and toss Garrison out of the ring, but Pillman Jr lands a flying Elbow that knocks Miro on his butt and the two start brawling until the refs manage to break it up; all the while Ford is looking on rather amused.  I would LOVE to see The Varsity Blondes take on Miro, but I REALLY hope this isn’t leading to Ford leaving Kip for him.  It’s probably NOT going in that direction, but it would be a TERRIBLE mistake if it does.  Kip at some point really needs to get his revenge on Miro and he and Ford work great together so I REALLY don’t want to see them split up!  Miro of all people should know how that kind of storyline goes!

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Tony Schiavone is trying to interview Britt Baker about her title when Vickie shows up demanding a match for her client Nyla Rose for that belt.  Baker and Rebel (Not Reba) laugh in her face, but when it turns out that Tony Khan owes Vickie a favor for bringing in Andrade, the snickering comes to an abrupt end.  For whatever reason, Vickie doesn’t make it a title match, but instead a tag match; Baker and Rebel against Nyla and… Vickie herself.  The laughter then resumes.  I’m honestly not sure if I’ve ever seen a Vickie Guerrero match so I don’t know if she was any good when she was active, but this will be an… interesting match-up regardless.

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Jade Cargill and Smart Mark Sterling announce a partnership between Jade Cargill and the Toronto Four Season.  *YAWN* oh I’m sorry, I was up late last night; it has nothing to do with the fact that we’re devoting time to someone getting a brand deal instead of watching them wrestling.  Honest!

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Penta El Zero M, Frankie Kazarian, and Eddie Kingston Vs. The Good Brothers & Matt Jackson – Six Man Tag Match

Penta is accompanied to the ring by Alex Abrahantes while Matt Jackson is accompanied by Brandon Cutler and Don Callis is on commentary

I wasn’t too impressed with last week’s trios match, but this one definitely feels like an improvement.  Perhaps most noticeably, they’ve just kind of abandoned the BABY FACES CAN’T WORK TOGETHER storyline so it makes more sense for them to do as well here as they end up doing.  On top of that, while Matt Jackson is still in goofy clown mode, it isn’t AS blatant and he’s got The Good Brothers in serious wrestler mode to back him up, so the match feels less like a farce and a genuine contest between two teams.  Kazarian and Penta have some good opening attacks against Anderson and Matt, while Kingston is left to deal with the giant Gallows.  He has trouble taking him down with clothesline, but a middle rope dive is just the trick to knock him on his back and he remains in control of the match through the commercial break.  Eventually the Heels start getting the heat on Kingston, but he sends Matt flying with a Belly to Belly Suplex and makes the tag to Kazarian who cleans house and lands a Springboard Leg Drop on Anderson for a two count.  He then puts on one of the most ridiculously named moves in all of wrestling, the Cross-Face Chicken Wing, and nearly makes him tap before Gallows breaks it up.  Anderson then gets his revenge with a Spine Buster that may not be as good as Hobbs’, but was still impressive!  Penta comes back in to lock it up with Matt Jackson and lands a devastating Back Breaker on him before cleaning house on The Good Brothers.  He then lands a DDT from the bottom rope and gets a two count on Matt.  It’s at this point that the three Baby Faces land EVERY SPECIAL MOVE EVER on Matt Jackson and Kingston is about to get the pin… but Gallows runs in to break it up.  He then carries the unconscious Matt Jackson to the corner so that Anderson can get the tag which I thought was a cute little moment to throw in there and certainly give The Good Brothers a bit more credibility as serious contenders that they are more or less carrying one of the Young Bucks in this match.  The Heels are running out of tricks however and so they need to kick it into overdrive.  They land something that LOOKS like a Magic Killer on Penta which is followed by an Elbow Drop from Matt Jackson and they only get a two count from this.  The Good Brothers then set up for the ACTUAL Magic Killer but Kazarian runs in to break it up.  At that point it devolves into chaos as people run in and out of the ring, but once the dust has settled it’s back to Penta and Anderson.  Penta lands a Back Stabber on Anderson and goes up to the top rope… and then it all just kinda deflates as Nick Jackson comes out of nowhere to spray Penta with the cold spray.  Penta falls down, Anderson lands a Super Cutter, and he gets the pin to win the match.  I don’t like how the entire match just COLLAPSED with Nick Jackson coming in.  The bad guys can cheat, but having it end immediately like that feels a bit unsatisfying; especially with that being the end of the show as The Heels celebrate on the ramp while the broadcast comes to an end.

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The Friday night shows certainly ended on a high note as there may have been some oddness here and there (particularly the MMA match at the beginning and whatever is going on with Jade Cargill), but the show did a great job of advancing the necessary storylines for the big Saturday show and laying down the groundwork for the future as well.  The match with Cassidy and Bononi is certainly a personal favorite of mine, but even if you didn’t find it as endearing as I did there were more than enough great matches on the show to keep most AEW fans happy!  Next week is when this bizarre schedule comes to an end and we’re back on Wednesday nights, so hopefully they finish this little experiment off with a bang instead of just slinking back to their regular timeslot.  It certainly wouldn’t inspire confidence for AEW Rampage if they go that route!

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