AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back for night two of AEW’S Fyter Fest special event which comes right after their Road Rager event and will most assuredly be followed by like five other events. Well you can hardly blame them for trying to make every episode feel like something monumental will happen since they’re still establishing themselves on the road, and to their credit they have been stacking these shows with a lot of great matches! Will that trend continue for this episode, or are they about to run out of gas? Let’s find out!!
Chris Jericho Vs. Shawn Spears – First Labor of Jericho
Shawn Spears can use a chair but Chris Jericho cannot
MJF is on commentary
The idea of Jericho having to face four opponents in wacky stipulation matches before getting a crack at the biggest snot nosed heel at the company is the kind of booking I like to see and is also exactly what you want to do if you’re looking for something other than a title chase to get fans invested. We’re certainly starting things off well with MJF’s obnoxious commentary and Shawn Spears coming out with a personalized chair that he uses to menace Jericho with, but it’s not long before he gets it away from them and gets a strong lead in the match. It’s not until Jericho tries for a Springboard Forearm that Spears surprises him with a chair to the face and from there the match is a lot more even between them. Jericho would get some momentum, but then Spears would stop him in his tracks with either a big move or another chair shot which kept the crowd on edge and they popped big time whenever Jericho gets control again. At some point, Spears wedges a chair into one of the corners with the intent of throwing Jericho into it, but Jericho manages to fight back and puts Spears in the Walls of Jericho. Just a moment before Spears starts tapping out in the middle of the ring, Tully gets on the apron and distracts Ref Aubrey so that she doesn’t see the submission. Sammy comes out to yank him off the apron, but it’s too late as Spears has crawled his way to a chair and manages to bash it over Jericho’s head to break the submission. Seeing a chance at victory, Spears gets Jericho up on his shoulders for a C4 along with a chair to make it more painful, but Jericho escapes and shoves Spears into the chair that was wedged in the corner. As Spears bounces back he eats a Judas Effect from Jericho and stays down for the three count; giving Jericho the win and passing the first of his Labors. It was certainly a solid match to start the show with, and the gimmick added a lot to it; especially for the crowd who reacted to every chair shot with a chorus of boos and exploded with every comeback from Jericho with thunderous applause!
As soon as the match is over, MJF comes to the ramp to congratulate Jericho on his victory but to also admonish him for letting Sammy come to his rescue. Because of such blatant interference (ignoring of course Tully’s involvement), he has declared that Jericho cannot have ANYONE ELSE come out during any more of his labors or else the deal is off. I’m not sure if he can make changes like that since they already signed the contract, but in any case MJF also announces the NEXT challenge that Jericho will face. It will be a No DQ match against none other than Nick Gage! For those of you who don’t know (like me), he is a top star in the independent wrestling scene, and is perhaps most known for his hardcore style which on at least one occasion nearly killed him in the middle of a match. I doubt Jericho, AEW, or TNT are gonna be okay with THAT kind of DQ match, but it should be interesting all the same!
Doc Gallows Vs. Frankie Kazarian
Gallows is accompanied to the ring by Karl Anderson
The Elite Hunter storyline with Frankie Kazarian has been a very solid running thread in the background of a lot of different stories, and eventually I was hoping that it would build to something HUGE; perhaps even a PPV match or a title shot at some point. Instead, some things happened on one of the Dark shows where Gallows attacked Kazarian and now we’re blowing it off here. I mean I GUESS they could keep it going after this, but despite the match being perfectly fine with some good work from both of them, it feels like Kazarian is being written off with what happens at the end. Frankie is fighting with all his heart and manages to maintain a solid advantage despite Gallows’ enormous size proving to be a formidable hurdle for him to overcome. With the help of Karl Anderson however, Frankie gets distracted and eats a Big Boot to the face which Gallows follows up with a Sit Out Powerbomb to get the win. Callis and Omega come out to show the world what happens when you mess with The Elite, but right before Omega bashes him over the face with his title belt he’s interrupted by The Hangman who saunters over to the ring with a drink in hand. If I was Kazarian, I would be wondering why he wasn’t RUNNING to make the save considering how close he was to getting seriously injured, but then again the dude completely disappears at this point never to be seen again as the focus shifts to the Hangman. So this is how the Elite Hunter story ends? Despite making the save for numerous people, not one of them was willing to watch his back during the match; not even afterwards when he’s getting a mud hole stomped into him? I really like the Hangman Adam Page storyline they’re doing right now, but I don’t want it to come at the expense of Frankie Kazarian who has been a FANTASTIC thorn in the Elite’s side since The Bucks defeated him and Daniels several months ago! Even if this isn’t the end of THE ELITE HUNTER, it definitely feels like a lot of wind has been taken out of his sails and I’m not sure where you would go with it now.
In any case, Don Callis starts heckling The Hangman who remains unfazed and just starts throwing punches at everyone in sight. As soon as the brawling starts, The Dark Order run out to make the save (which they DIDN’T do for Kazarian) and even Jon Silver gets in on the action as he, Reynolds, and Hangman land a bunch of moves on Karl Anderson before ending with the Buckshot Lariat. I don’t know if Silver is fully healed yet, but it was good to see him in action once again!
We cut to the back where Dasha Gonzalez is showing Brian Cage a video that Team Taz cut earlier that day to get his reaction. Team Taz are gloating about their big win over former member Brian Cage and that they are going to have a big in-ring celebration next week and Brian Cage is looking forward to crashing it. It seems like a pretty obvious trap to me, but hopefully Cage has something up his sleeve other than running in and throwing punches.
Darby Allin Vs. Wheeler Yuta
Darby is accompanied to the ring by Sting while Yuta is accompanied by Orange Cassidy
Similar to what we just saw in the Kazarian match, it’s everything that happens OUTSIDE of the in-ring action that ultimately matters here, though at least here it’s not undercutting a long term storyline and the in-ring action is still good if ultimately secondary. Darby, incidentally, is doing a pretty good job considering he’s got his ribs taped up which I would call LUCKY frankly considering the ridiculous nonsense he pulled last week. Wheeler does his best tow work over his midsection which does a decent job of keeping Darby grounded, but Darby isn’t about to stay down for a three count as long as he’s still breathing. This whole time though, Sting and Cassidy are outside the ring observing everything and stealing quick glances at one another until they finally have a confrontation. Orange naturally puts his hands in his pockets, but in a grand twist of fate, Sting starts throwing the Lousy Kicks at Darby and it becomes a contest to see who can pull off the move best. Darby is mesmerized by the whole scene and so Yuta almost gets the win with a surprise roll up, but when Darby kicks out he retaliates with a Stunner and Coffin Drop which is enough to keep Yuta down for the three count and win him the match. Now if that match didn’t have ENOUGH extraneous stuff for your liking, Orange takes a right hook to the jaw from none other than The Blade who’s got the brass knuckles on his fingers and has a match against Cassidy later that night. I guess they just wanted to throw Darby out there since he’s such a big ratings draw, but it felt a little cheap to have him be there just so that other angles can be developed while he’s doing stuff in the background.
Britt Baker Vs. Nyla Rose – AEW Women’s Title Match
Baker is accompanied to the ring by Rebel (Not Reba) while Rose is accompanied by Vickie Guerrero
The buildup to this match has been so strange that I wasn’t sure what to make of this match and I’m not sure anyone else did either. At the start of the match everyone is booing Nyla Rose and cheering for Baker so it seems like the champ is the Babyface in this scenario, but then Baker is in control of this match for so long with Rose showing her heart as she kicks out every time despite how much damage she’s taking and that leads to dueling chants from the crowd! Things do pick up a bit for me when they start focusing more on trading big moves than trying to fight as Heels or Faces, and there’s some impressive stuff from both women throughout here, but the big turning point towards the end of the match was when Nyla gives her A HUGE forearm to Baker’s face! She falls over like a ton of bricks before Nyla falls over herself (I guess she got lightheaded?) and Baker somehow gets up before Rose. She gets the belt and tosses it to Rose while Rebel (Not Reba) distracts the ref, and she flops over; doing the Eddie Guerrero spot of trying to get the other person in trouble. This was a major miscalculation however as you don’t try to out Guerrero a Guerrero, and Vickie holds down the ref while Rose tosses the belt at Baker just in time for the ref to turn around and see her with it. In the confusion, Nyla lands a Beast Bomb and gets a very close two count that the crowed popped for big time, and so Nyla tries to get Baker up for a second one. Baker escapes however and manages to pull Rose down into the Lock Jaw which Nyla… DOES NOT IMMEDIATELY TAP TO! Every time Baker has put this move in it was an instant match ender, but Rose holds out for several seconds which the crowd was losing it over… until she does eventually tap out and Baker retains her title. Still, Rose put up a good fight and fought back harder than ANYONE against The Lockjaw which in my book means that both come out looking stronger than ever! The first half was kind of forgettable, but the second half picked things up and then the ending REALLY pushed it over the edge! However, it turns out that Baker got injured during this match (it seems that she broke her wrist during a Death Valley Driver spot) so she’s gonna be out of action for a bit. Still, it’s unlikely to halt her momentum at this point and frankly they could use some time to build up some more challengers.
FTR and Proud N Powerful have a press conference that’s honestly kind of boring. They argue at each other for a little bit and I don’t know why they couldn’t just do this in the ring; especially when in the very next segment we get to see…
Tony Schiavone is in the ring and calls Andrade El Idolo out to speak to the AEW crowd and to call out Death Triangle, but before he gets to all that he has a big announcement which is that Chavo Guerrero will be his consultant here at AEW, and the guy comes out thunderous applause from the audience. Clearly everyone there knows who this guy is except for me as he is the nephew of Eddie Guerrero who had worked for WWE for quite a while before bouncing around a few promotions and having a pretty long stint in Lucha Underground. He also has a better grasp of English than Andrade which would help with the promos, but he doesn’t seem to be on the same page as Andrade as Chavo comes off as sincerely excited to be here rather than too cool to care. It seems clear that Andrade is SUPPOSED to be a heel, but I’m wondering if Chavo is gonna ty to still be a Babyface manager or whatever considering how much the crowd loves seeing him. After the introductions are done, Death Triangle come out and they start arguing at one another; partially in Spanish but it’s actually quite amazing just how well everything gets across in this promo even for non-Spanish speakers. Basically, Andrade wants Rey and Penta to drop Pac and work for him, an offer they unequivocally refuse, and a brawl threatens to break out before the refs run down to cool everyone’s heads. Andrade is starting to get a bit of momentum here and while Chavo didn’t seem like a PERFECT fit, I’m interested to see where all of this is going.
After that we get a recap of some sort of brawl that happened between Hardy Family Office and Jurassic Express that’s gonna lead to a match next week. I kinda doubted this feud would end with Matt Hardy getting pinned, but my big question is that there seems to be another guy hanging out with Private Party. Are they a trios now, or perhaps he’s just some dude that Hardy picked up for his faction? Perhaps he’s been on Dark or something, but if they’re gonna show up on Dynamite (even in pre-taped footage like this) it’d be nice to know who they are!
Orange Cassidy Vs. The Blade
The Blade is accompanied to the ring by The Bunny
Things definitely start off a bit weird in this match as there is a question as to whether Cassidy will be well enough to face The Blade after taking that brass knuckle punch earlier in the show, but for some reason The Blade is just assuming that he won and is asking the ref to raise his hand… even while Cassidy’s music is playing and he’s walking down the ramp. I mean seriously, even if you DID doubt that the guy would show, wouldn’t the music playing be enough for you to AT LEAST look towards the ramp to see if he’s walking down!? That was a little strange, but the match quickly goes underway and it’s a pretty darn good one all things considered. The Blade fights this like a cowardly heel as he feigns a knee injury in the corner almost immediately, and while Ref Remsberg is holding back Cassidy, Blade runs up and kicks him in the face. Feeling a little TOO smug about that, he goes for a suplex and ends up eating a Stundog Millionaire for his troubles which puts things back to an even playing field. The go back and forth for a bit until Cassidy takes an ABSOLUTELY brutal spot where he eats a Gut Wrench Powerbomb ON TOP OF THE TURNBUCKLE! Not sure that was a great idea, but it at least adds to the story as Cassidy sells his back for the rest of the match which gives Blade some room to build some heat until Cassidy gets a comeback with a big Top Rope Splash and a Swinging DDT. The Bunny tries to cause a distraction, but Kris Statlander comes out from the back to stop her (see, that’s what SOMEONE should have done with Kazarian!), but despite this save from Statlander, The Blade might still have this in the bag with Cassidy’s back injury preventing him from getting the Beach Break which allows him to land a Corkscrew Tombstone for a two count. Getting frustrated by Cassidy’s refusal to stay down, The Bunny manages to toss the brass knuckles to The Blade so he can finish him off once and for all, but the weapon fails to turn the tide of the match as Cassidy manages to land an Orange Punch and get the pin to win the match. Not done with The Blade however, Cassidy gets the brass knuckles for himself and lands one more Orange Punch after the match is over to send a strong message and most likely ending this feud! It started a bit strangely and I may not have liked that one spot on the turnbuckle, but this was a VERY good match that did a great job of working an injury spot and the crowd still loves Orange Cassidy, so expect more of these kind of matches going forward!
Jon Moxley Vs. Lance Archer – Texas Death Match for the IWGP US Title
You can only win by knockout or submission
Lance Archer is accompanied to the ring by Jake Roberts
I wasn’t the kindest person in the world to the Moxley/Anderson match from last week, and thankfully those criticisms feel somewhat validated because this match is MUCH better and more in line with what I expect to see from Moxley; not just the overabundance of violence, weapon spots, and bloody faces, but because he’s got a lot more energy and personality here that shines through the gruesomeness of it all! Moxley is so full of pep in fact that he starts bashing Lance over the head before the bell even rings, though Archer no sells it and they just start trading blows in the middle of the ring as they probably would have done if Moxley had been a little more patient. Archer ends up getting a strong advantage early on as the brawl makes its way to the crowd, and he even picks up a “fan” in the crowd and throws him at Jon Moxley. I couldn’t find any word on who this plant in the crowd was, but it was a pretty fun spot to end the crowd brawling on as they return to the ring right after that. From there it just gets even more brutal as Archer eats a Paradigm shift on the floor before getting stabbed repeatedly with a fork to chants of YOU SICK F**K, and Moxley just fills the ring with all sorts of weapons while also setting up tables on the outside. Whatever momentum Archer had at first is quickly dissipating as Moxley is in control now and even Pillmanizes Archer’s leg, but he manages to fight back a bit when Moxley comes at him with a trash can lid and he PUNCHES IT right into his face! Archer goes for the Blackout Slam into some chairs, but Moxley wriggles out and lands a low blow which you’d THINK would be the end of Archer’s comeback, but he recovers rather quickly and instead Choke Slams Moxley into the chairs. Not one to be underestimated however, Moxley manages to recover and lands a big lariat followed by a Paradigm Shift, and when Archer refuses to stays down he stars jabbing him in the face with the fork again. Ready to bring this to an end, Moxley puts barb wire boards on top of the tables and drags Archer to the apron for a Paradigm Shift. In a grand twist of fate however, Archer is the one with the fork now and stabs Moxley repeatedly before giving him a Choke Slam into the barb wire! Moxley stays down for the ten count and Archer wins the match; making him the new IWGP US Champion! He celebrates in the ring for a bit before some guy named Hikuleo from New Japan gives him a stare down as the episode comes to a close; not wasting any time in setting up his first title defense!
This was another solid episode in AEW’s run of big shows following their return to the road. Probably about as good as last week’s show, though where the promos were fantastic and the matches were a bit underwhelming last week, this one is a better balance between the two; not reaching the high bar set for promos, but faring better in the matches themselves. There are some very exciting things on the horizon for AEW so they need to do their best to keep the momentum going until then, and so far they’ve done an excellent job of it. Hopefully the stuff they are building up now doesn’t get overshadowed by the big things that are coming soon, but until the rubber meets the road on all of that I’m happy with what we’ve been getting.