Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-04-2021) – Homecoming

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

We’re back with another episode of AEW Dynamite and things are definitely looking up for the company!  The last episode was definitely a mixed bag of highs and lows, but the ratings the last few weeks have been consistently excellent and there’s no sign of it slowing down; especially with the talent that should be arriving in the next few weeks!  Does this episode keep the momentum going as we head towards the debut of Rampage and the big PPV show to follow not long after?  Let’s find out!!

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Chris Jericho Vs. Juventud Guerrera – The Third Labor of Jericho

For Jericho to win, he must land a move from the top rope

Not everyone has enjoyed the whole Labors of Jericho thing, and for me this MIGHT be the match that pushed things a little bit too far.  It’s by no means the fault of the two guys in the ring as they are GREAT here (and I have to find out what Juvy does to still look so young!) but the stipulation doesn’t make a lot of sense and is not very well explained.  I honestly thought that all he had to do was land one move from the top rope to win and the rules weren’t clear until we saw it play out in the match.  Apparently he has to land a move from the top rope AND THEN either pin or submit him; the latter of which by the way being a pretty goofy looking spot where Jericho drops from the top rope onto Juvy and just puts him in the Walls of Jericho.  Juvy eventually gets out of it and they go back and forth for a bit with Juvy getting a close nearfall after landing a Juvy Driver, but then Jericho hits the Judas Effect and Juvy is down.  HOWEVER!  He landed it while on the ground and can’t cover him to which Jericho looks right into the camera with a dumbfounded expression on his face before going up top and landing a Flying Judas Effect to finally get the pin and win the match.  I’d honestly have much preferred a simple match between these two or perhaps a more straightforward stipulation as the top rope stuff kinda dragged things down throughout, but it was nice to see Juvy again and the Jericho storyline is still one of the most enjoyable things that AEW has going on right now!

After the match, Jericho is attacked by a rampaging Wardlow who knocks him out with a Causality of War which is KINDA like a GTS only you use a turnbuckle instead of putting the guy on your back, and it’s also one of the more awkwardly named finishing moves I’ve seen  in a good while.  That’s not all however, as Wardlow even goes after Juvy and gives him an F10 for failing in his mission to stop Jericho; all of which is being done under the watchful eye of MJF who tells Jericho what his next match is.  He will have Wardlow and the stipulation is that MJF will be the referee which I THINK is the first time we’ve had a special referee in AEW and I can’t wait to see what MJF looks like in a striped t-shirt!

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We cut to the back where we see a VERY familiar scene as Dasha is interviewing Penta and Rey this week instead of Pac who is now the one that got his travel arrangements all messed up, and sure enough Andrade and Chavo come out to make another offer to The Lucha Bros.  I wasn’t a fan of this segment last week and I’m not much of a fan of it now as I’d rather see them wrestle than bicker over Uber rides, but at least it wasn’t following a PHENOMENAL match like it did last week.

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The story of Hangman Adam Page and The Dark Order has been the beating heart of this show for weeks now, and it looks like things are not going great for them as Hangman wants some time apart.  Not because he’s angry or anything!  He just feels like he failed THEM and so he needs to do this on his own which is still utterly selfish thinking on his part, but The Dark Order have decided to give him some space to figure that out on his own.  The Elite meanwhile are absolutely LOVING this revelation as they gloat about it later in the show while shooting hoops and spinning basketballs on their fingers.  Also Nick Jackson is back to squawking like a bird so that’s fun! 

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Eddie Kingston, Jon Moxley, and Darby Allin Vs. Daniel Garcia & 2.0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker) – Trios Match

Darby Allin is accompanied to the ring by Sting

Yeah, probably not the best look for WWE when two of the stars they released a few weeks ago show up on the competition you release even MORE talent as 2.0 are the former Ever Rise from NXT.  Also, the fact that we’ve got three of the biggest names in the company just randomly thrown together against a bunch of new guys is definitely there to pop the ratings since AEW has been on a hot streak recently which honestly I don’t mind.  Not everything has to be part of a long running story and trying to force it in is what gets us run ins and screw job finishes in way too many matches.  It starts off with Darby and Garcia feeling each other out with a lot of quick moves and one count pins, but it’s not long before Matt Lee tags himself in and gets a few shots at Darby who tags in Kingston, and… I GUESS there’s some history between him and Matt?  The announcers allude to something being there and Matt is certainly getting all up in Kingston’s face before eating a bunch of chops and getting stomped into the corner.  Fortune turns in 2.0’s favor though as Jeff get a few cheap shots in that distracts Kingston enough for Matt Lee get a Chop Block in and the team gets the heat on Kingston for a bit.  Kingston tries to get to his corner and everyone is waiting for Moxley to get in, but the other team is doing everything they can to keep him out of the ring.  Eventually though Moxley just says SCREW IT and starts beating up people outside the ring which is not what Kingston was expecting and so he tags in Darby.  While 2.0 are recovering outside the ring when Sting comes up and Matt Lee is marking out for the guy… only to eat a HORRIFIC Suicide Dive from Darby!  Seriously, this is one of the most devastating looking hits I’ve seen in quite some time and Matt sells it PERFECTLY for Darby who looks amazing doing it!  With everyone on the other side more or less down for the count, Darby FINALLY tags in Moxley who cleans house on the three dorks before tagging Darby back in to land the Coffin Drop on Garcia and get the pin!  This is just straight up wrestling fun and a good way to keep the crowd lively between the more important segments throughout the show.  All three of the new guys looked just fine here, but Matt Lee in particular stood out with exuberant attitude and ability to take a bump with aplomb!  Perhaps it’s a BIT of a waste to not try and build up to something like this instead of just throwing it out there, but I certainly enjoyed it for what it was.

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The breakup of Team Taz hasn’t exactly lived up to its potential yet, but Brian Cage cuts an AMAZING promo here where he finally airs out his frustrations; all intercut by Ricky Starks who is relishing in his status as FTW champ and is doing his best to pretend that he’s not afraid of Brian Cage.

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Christian Cage Vs. The Blade

The Blade is accompanied to the ring by The Bunny

I’m not sure if I should be feeling bad for The Blade or giving him some serious credit here.  Despite his tag team partner being out for a REALLY long time, he’s managed to find a niche on the show that gets him on TV almost every week which is something that few people have accomplished; let alone someone who isn’t a big name superstar!  Still, the matches he’s had have almost all felt like filler at best and this one is no exception as he and Cage do some fine stuff here but it’s not all that exciting and noteworthy.  We’ve got some shenanigans with The Bunny before she gets attacked by Leyla Hirsch and Cage goes off the top rope for another one of those elbow strikes, but aside from that it’s just kinda THERE.  Cage eventually gets the upper hand in strike exchange and starts running roughshod over Blade for a while before things even up after a failed Kill Switch attempt.  Blade of course goes for the brass knuckles and of course they prove to be his undoing as he doesn’t see Cage setting up for a Spear until it’s too late and he stays down for the pin; giving Christian Cage the win  and I guess moving him one step closer to a title shot against Kenny Omega.  It was a fine little match but where the last match was a fun time killer, this was not so much. 

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Baker is brought out to the ring to brag about being champion, but she doesn’t get far into it before Red Velvet comes out and demands a match from the champ.  She agrees to face her on the Rampage debut episode next Friday which seems… OPTIMISTIC considering she’s supposed to be wearing her cast for at least another few weeks.

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We cut to the back where Dasha is interviewing Andarade, but it gets interrupted by Chavo announcing that Fuego Del Sol has joined their team!  Well that’s good, or at least it WOULD be if the job wasn’t to shine Andrade’s shoes and if Andrade didn’t beat the crap out of him for refusing to do so.  And he wonders why The Lucha Bros aren’t eager to jump into bed with him!

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Hangman’s Got Some Explaining To Do!  What’s He Planning Next!?

Tony Schivaone has Adam Page in the ring to try and get an explanation out of him regarding his abandonment of The Dark Order earlier in the show, but before he can give an answer he’s interrupted by The Elite who are still spinning basketballs on their fingers.  Page is actually kind of glad they’re here as he wants to tell something to The Bucks (most likely an apology for screwing with their title shot all those months ago), but Omega grabs the mic and makes it all about him instead.  Without Hangman even asking, Omega assures him that he cannot rejoin The Elite because they don’t have room for second fiddles (unless you’re Brandon Cutler I guess) and Hangman takes a swing right at Omega’s jaw.  The victory is short lived however as The Elite pounce and The Good Brothers land a Magic Killer which leaves Hangman helpless in the middle of the ring.  BUT THEN THE DARK ORDER RUN OUT TO MAKE THE SAVE… only for Uno and Grayson to hold the crew back as Hangman asked them to give him some space.  I’m PRETTY sure this would count as an exception, but the de facto leaders of The Dark Order are resolute and leave Hangman to eat several BTE Triggers before none other than Frankie Kazarian runs out to try and make the save… and he fails at it.  Good job there, Frankie!  Way to bounce back after eating such a big loss last week!  In any case, The Bucks have Hangman held in place and Omega bashes him over the head with the AEW title belt; leaving the Elite standing strong over the battered and broken Hangman.  I’m still VERY confident in where this storyline is going and this is surely a low point that will sooner or later end with Hangman back on top, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of this.  Uno and Grayson seemed rather callous in their broad interpretation of “giving Hangman some space” and Frankie Kazarian didn’t need to fall flat on his face so soon after losing his momentum with that defeat to Gallows.  We’ll see where this is going but I’m wondering if this is kind of closing the book on Hangman and Omega; at least until the champ runs through a few more challengers.  After all, AEW has put themselves in a pretty awkward spot as they no longer have a main event for their PPV as Hangman can no longer challenge for the title, but considering how good this storyline is I’m confident they’ll think of something between now and then.

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Miro Vs. Lee Johnson

Johnson is accompanied to the ring by Dustin Rhodes

AEW doesn’t usually do the traditional squash match where one guy is in control the entire time until they get bored and finish off their opponent; making them look like unstoppable monsters and in need of a worthy challenger.  This is EXACTLY the kind of match you’d expect to be that way with Johnson being a lower tier guy with no build up prior to the match, but unlike other places they don’t outright bury the guy.  Heck, even the crowd was merciful enough to do dueling chants instead of just MIRO’S GONNA KILL YOU, and Johnson gets some good kicks in that keeps Miro at bay even when he’s clearly in control of this match; particularly by avoiding the Game Over whenever Miro threatens to put him in it.  Miro gets the heat on Lee for most of the match but after the commercial break Miro goes for a Pop Up Powerbomb only for Johnson to somehow reverse it into a DDT, so hey!  Good for Lee to get Miro down to one knee!  In fact, he even manages to get Miro all the way to the ground with a few well time kicks, but no matter what Johnson throws at the champ he’s not about to stay down for more than a moment.  Miro manages to land a VERY nice kick on Johnson which drops him to the mat, and Miro locks in the Game Over which puts Johnson out like a light.  Not a bad match and I’m glad that they’re doing A LOT with Miro, but I’m curious to see who his next TRUE challenger will be!

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Tony is in the back interviewing Christian Cage who is the number one contender now and alludes to taking on Kenny Omega on Rampage which would be a good main event for the first episode, but what really stood out about this segment is that he starts randomly singing the Golden Girls theme… for some reason.  This is going to be his theme before the end of the month.

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Leyla Hirsch Vs. The Bunny – NWA Women’s Title Qualifier Match

Hirsch is accompanied to the ring by Best Friends and Orange Cassidy while The Bunny is accompanied by Hardy Family Office

Speaking of mixed feelings about a wrestler’s trajectory!  The Bunny, just like her husband The Blade, is also someone who has been getting a heck of a lot of TV time but rarely have her matches been the highlight of the show.  Sadly that’s the case here as well as she and Hirsch have a DECENT match, but nothing to really write home about.  Some of it is a bit of sloppiness as Hirsch seems rather green here, but what kinda drags this down the most is that this is another match where things happening outside of it are much more important.  Apparently the NWA champ is in the crowd so Bunny has to yell at her a bit, they wheeled out Orange Cassidy who’s just there so the crowds can see him, and there’s a stare down between Nyla Rose and Kris Statlander to set up a match for next week; all the while The Bunny and Hirsch are doing their best to put on a good show but it feels rather token.  The Bunny gets a nice Backstabber early on as well as Drop Kick that leads to the heat segment, but Hirsch eventually turns things around with a Superplex.  Bunny manages to get a two count with a Death Valley Driver, but Hirsch kicks out and puts her in the Arm Bar to get the submission and win the match.  Oh, and after the match Hirsch and the NWA champ Kamilla Kaine have a stare down which looks to be an interesting match if nothing else since Kaine is so tall that Hirsch barely comes up to her chest.  I guess we’ll get at least one of these overstuffed matches every week to try and fill in whatever storyline gaps the show needs to, but at least they aren’t TERRIBLE matches in their own right.

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Jade Cargill and Smart Mark Sterling are back to try and justify the lousy marketing promos they were doing a few weeks ago and have confirmed that Jade is FINALLY getting back in the ring for a match on Elevation.  Good!  Fine!  Whatever!  Just do something with her and put Mark through a table or something!  That’s SO much more entertaining than spouting hashtags!

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Cody Rhodes Vs. Malakai Black

Cody is accompanied to the ring by Dustin Rhodes

Cody is nothing if not a consummate showman and he definitely gave everyone something to talk about tonight.  The match itself is almost immaterial to what happens afterwards, but it’s still worth noting that this is a darn good match.  Black starts off strong and more or less finishes the match within the first few seconds with a well-timed kick to Cody’s leg that pretty much shuts down his offensive capabilities.  He’s clutching it the entire time and trying to hop around, but Black is still at a hundred percent and is not above cheating his way to victory such as when he thumbs him right in the eye.  There is one cool spot that’s also kind of corny where Black sees Cody going up to the top turnbuckle and he lands a jump kick right to the leg.  Instead of falling into the ring however, Cody falls backwards and smashes into the timekeeper’s table on the floor below.  A very impressive spot to be sure but I’m not sure why he fell down in THAT direction instead of the more obvious and safe one!  If the leg injury wasn’t enough, the table spot certainly sealed the deal and Malakai Black gives him a swift spin-kick to the jaw to knock him out and get the pin.  Good stuff, but the match barely goes five minutes before it’s over and now Cody’s gotta fill the rest of the hour by himself.  He certainly spends it well I guess as he gives his retirement speech and starts to undo his boots when Black come back and bashes him in the back with a crutch as the show goes off the air.  Now it’s been heavily speculated that this would be an unholy beat down to get Cody off the show so he can do another season of the Go Big Show, but I don’t think any of us were expecting him to make this a retirement angle; if it even IS that!  He breaks Kayfabe and gives something of a shoot promo about his career, and the fact that he went as far as to start taking off his boots means it could be serious.  The guy DID just have a kid so perhaps he wants to leave the ring with his body still intact which is understandable, but the fact that Black bothered to come back and bash him with the crutch is causing me to lean towards it all being one big work.  If this is his final match though, it wasn’t a bad one to go out on as he did put over Malakai Black as a terrifying star and I’m sure we’ll see a lot more of him in the next few weeks!

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This episode is actually quite a bit like last week’s where the really important things happened at the beginning and the end with everything in the middle feeling more like a house show than anything else.  Still, I think the balance works out a bit better here as the Jericho match didn’t suck the wind out of the rest of the show like Hangman’s defeat did, but by that same token nothing on the show was as good as that Ten Man Elimination match.  AEW is on the hottest streak it’s ever had and with what’s coming up in the next few weeks I think it’s only going to get bigger.  Maybe this wasn’t my favorite episode of all time, but I still like what I see and I’m definitely excited to see what the future holds!

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