AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
We’re back with another episode of AEW, and this one is a special one because, ironically, it’s NOT a special episode! Yes, for the first time in six weeks, this does NOT have a subtitle attached to it, but considering how strong the show has been lately I wouldn’t take it as a sign that they are resting on their laurels. Do they continue their upward momentum in anticipation for the PPV and the arrival of some big name stars? Let’s find out!!
We begin the show with a promo from MJF and Wardlow about the latter’s upcoming match against Jericho which as far as I can tell is NOT a stipulation match. Sure, MJF is gonna be at ringside but pretty much EVERY match on this show has a bowling team’s worth of extra dudes just hanging around. As you’d expect MJF is his usual smarmy self, a smarminess further accentuated by him eating an apple while talking, and Wardlow is standing behind him flexing and pouting his lips. He seems pretty confident about his chances tonight, but MJF reminds him of his cage match against Cody which turns the atmosphere to ice. The Wardlow/MJF breakup has been a thread for almost as long as the Hangman’s downfall has been playing out, but chances are that they’re gonna stick it out for quite a while longer as their feud with The Inner Circle shows no sign of slowing down.
Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks Vs. Daunte Martin & The Sydal Brothers – Trios Match
I don’t know what it is about Pittsburgh, but AEW has to go here more often because they pulled out ALL the stops; especially with this opening bout which MIGHT be one of the best matches of the year! If nothing else, it’s EASILY a PPV caliber bout and I just love what this match manages to do and what it AVOIDS doing. We have three AEW champions just showing up for a trios match against three guys who aren’t exactly the biggest stars at the company, and they’re just wrestling because it’s a fun match to do; nothing more, nothing less! It’s a non-title match obviously because they have to preserve the existing storylines at least a LITTLE bit, but The Elite are not afraid to give these three lower tier dudes a lot of room to show what they can do, and while the Sydal brothers have always been great and look great here as they get an early lead on the Bucks, the real star is Daunte Martin. The guy has a vertical leap that is truly something to admire, and he lands a Drop Kick to the face of Matt Jackson with ease; jumping so high that it almost looks like he’s floating as he turns in midair to land the kick! Both teams go back and forth with the Baby Faces getting pretty solid advantages that are undercut by the devious machinations of The Elite, and EVERYONE looks good in the process! The Bucks get to do their Cocky Heel shtick, Kenny Omega cleans house whenever he’s in the ring, and The Baby Faces work together with brilliant efficiency; not that The Elite don’t work well together as they land a Face Buster/Kotaro Crusher on Mike Sydal that leads to hot tags from both Matt and Daunte. They land a bunch of big moves, the crowd is going wild, and they go for pinfalls and submissions, but it’s never quite enough to put the champs away. Eventually it devolves into that perfect wrestling chaos where everyone is just running in and doing moves, but there’s an elegance to the timing that makes it look like a spectacle instead of a violent mess; all of which leads to Daunte and Omega in the ring alone. Omega goes for the One Winged Angel, but Daunte manages to flip his way out of it and the two trade moves for nearfalls until Omega gets a V-Trigger right to the face of young Daunte. The Bucks keep the Sydals from running in as Kenny goes once again for the One Winged Angel and FINALLY lands it! He doesn’t go for the pin though as he and The Bucks don’t appreciate being shown up like this and so the three of them land a BTE-V-Trigger (basically all three of them land knees to the face), and NOW Kenny deigns to pin the kid to win the match and bring this fantastic spectacle to a close! There’s always a danger in putting something THIS good up front as it’s a hard act for any match to follow, but you couldn’t ask for a better way to get people to tune in as this was an amazing Trios match from beginning to end that left everyone looking even better than they did before!
Oh, but it’s not over yet! As Don Callis rushes to the ring and starts in on his promo, Christian Cage’s music hits and he comes out with Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus to a huge ovation from the crowd as he cuts a great promo about his upcoming match with Kenny Omega which is scheduled for the PPV. Everything about this is great… except for thing that just seemed kind of odd to me. Kenny has the Impact title belts in addition to the AEW belt, and so Christian Cage convinced Tony Khan and Impact… to let him challenge for their belt as well? He and Omega will have a match for the Impact title only a few weeks before having a match for the AEW title. I don’t know about you, but the specific gold belt that they wrestlers are fighting for is not enough of a difference for two matches to feel sufficiently different, so it seems odd to me that they’re gonna essentially give away their title match on free TV instead of saving their first confrontation for the PPV. Not only that, but Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus will be challenging for the AEW Tag Team belts on next week’s Dynamite which ALSO seems like a match you’d want to wait for the PPV to see. Perhaps they have something planned to spice things up, and it’s not like my gut instinct on these things is always right. I mean I didn’t expect Christian Cage to get over as Kenny’s next challenger after Hangman’s defeat, but I was certainly proven wrong by the end of this promo!
Malakai Black has a video after this that I’ve watched twice now and I’m still not sure what he’s on about. It actually reminds me of those ridiculous rambling rants that Pac would occasionally send in when he was stuck in the UK, but where those were fun and kind of tongue in cheek, this just left me confused and I would have preferred if they used that time to tell us who he’s fighting next.
Now if you want a BETTER version of this, they immediately follow it with a Miro promo where he certainly rambles a bit, but the character is much more clearly established with him and they announce that he will be facing Fuego Del Sol on the first episode of Rampage. Simple, to the point, and Miro still looks like one scary mo-fo with that belt over his shoulder and that vicious scowl on his face!
Darby Allin Vs. Daniel Garcia
Darby is accompanied o the ring by Sting while Garcia is accompanied by 2.0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker)
Last week’s match with Garcia and 2.0 was a pretty solid highlight; yet another random match just there to get the stars on the show, but one that endeared me greatly to Matt Lee and had that AMAZING Suicide Dive from Darby! Garcia didn’t exactly stand out to me though what with Lee’s big personality on display, but that changes here as Allin and Garcia have a FANTASTIC match in yet another star making performance for the night! What made ME happy about it right off the bat is that Darby doesn’t do anything to try and injure himself here like he’s been doing the past few weeks and he shows you that he’s a darn good wrestler even without the death defying stunts as he’s quick, skillful, and hard to predict! Garcia though proves to be a pretty good foil for him as he’s not TOO far behind Darby in terms of speed and skill while compensating for any skill gap with his strength. Darby gets him into all sorts of pinning predicaments early with Garcia managing to brute force his way out of them, but things turn in Garcia’s favor when he rakes Darby’s… nose? And this requires a Ref distraction from Matt Lee? I mean I’ve heard of raking the eyes and pulling the hair, but I didn’t realize that nose squeezing was such a faux-pa! In any case, this throws Darby off his game and Garcia starts tossing him all around the ring as he gets the heat during the commercial break. He definitely has an intensity to him that could work with some of the more technical and serious minded side of the company. I mean he’d PROBABLY have a good match against guys like Luchasaurus or Evil Uno, but his style definitely feels more like a shoot despite some decent gymnastics here and there. He lets his two buddies do the crowd work for him while he just tears apart his opponent in the ring which ends up giving Darby a run for his money. Even when Darby does his Springboard Coffin Drop to try and finish things quickly, Garcia manages to catch him and locks him in a Rear Naked Choke before Darby manages to flip over into a pinning predicament for Garcia that forces him to let go. The only spot that looked a LITTLE bit clunky was Darby’s Stunner as Garcia was clearly standing there and looking over his shoulder waiting to catch Darby. THAT didn’t look so great, but Darby makes up for it with a Top Rope Coffin Drop that got him the pin to win the match! Garcia showed himself to be a star in the making with this match and Darby proved once again that he can really go in the ring when the occasion calls for it. Frankly I hope this feud continues between these two which SEEMS to be the case because 2.0 rushes Darby Allin after the bell rings before Sting manages to fight BOTH of them back up the ramp with Darby giving Parker a Spear as soon as he gets his bearings. Sting then gives Matt Lee a Suplex on the ramp and Parker tries to plead with the Icon before eating a nut shot and right hook to the face! Hey, say what you will about 2.0; they may have gotten their butts kicked by a dude in his sixties, but at least they weren’t AFRAID to get their butts kicked by a dude in his sixties just to get a cheap shot out of loyalty to their buddy!
We have Death Triangle in the back who are FUMING about Andrade and his recent shenanigans, but despite all three members wanting a shot at him it’s determined that Pac will be the one to take on the pompous jerk whenever he gets the nerve to face him! Andrade and Chavo respond later in the show with utter astonishment as they have done SO MUCH for these three! They cancelled their Uber rides, they’ve talked bad about them behind their backs, and they even beat up Fuego Del Sol! I mean what more could Death Triangle POSSIBLY want!? Well this gets settled at All Out as Pac and Andrade will have a match on the show which I’m cautiously optimistic about. I like both Andrade and Pac, but honestly neither one of them seem to be at their peak. Sure Pac had a great match at the PPV, but it feel like he’s barely even here considering how few matches we’ve seen him in since then, and Andrade’s debut has been a mixed bag at best. Hopefully the two can pull out all the stops when they meet in the ring, but I’m gonna have to mark this one down as a WAIT AND SEE.
Orange Cassidy, Chuck Taylor, and Wheeler Yuta Vs. Matt Hardy & Private Party – Trios Match
Cassidy is accompanied to the ring by Kris Statlander while Matt Hardy is accompanied by Hardy Family Office
It’s been clear for a few weeks that AEW being back on the road means a lot of House Show style matches that don’t really connect to long term storylines and are just there to get the stars in front of the crowd. Sometimes it feels woefully contrived like Hardy Family Office’s match last week, but honestly this is yet another REALLY good match! It starts off with a fun spot of Cassidy going to put his hands in his pocket but Hardy keeps DELETING them away, but then Orange forces HARDY’S hand into his pocket and drops down to roll him up for good measure. However, Hardy quickly turns the match in his favor as he IMMEDIATELY lands a Side Effect after the roll up that leave Orange in bad shape. He manages to avoid a charge from Matt Hardy who bounces off the corner in hilarious fashion, and Orange gives a Lousy Splash from the bottom rope for a one count. Private Party get in after that and this is probably the best they’ve looked on Dynamite since joining HFO. I’m still not a fan of their corporate ring gear, but they are a lot of fun to watch here; especially Kassidy who adds a lot to the goofy fun tone of it all with his high pitched screams and exaggerated selling! HFO gets the heat on Yuta before he manages to make his way to the corner only to find no one there because Chuck was laid out and Orange Cassidy is being accosted by The Bunny. Kris Statlander tries to break it up, but down runs Nyla Rose to SHOVE Kris right into the apron and walks away to a chorus of boos while Jack Evans knocks Cassidy to the ground. Thankfully Chuck Taylor is back and gets the hot tag to run wild against Private Party; including this fun spot where he tosses Kassidy into the air and he screams all the way down before picking up Quen for a Powerbomb and dropping him on Kassidy! For whatever reason though, he tags Yuta back in who is up against Private party (I have no idea who’s legal on that side) and they land a Gin and Juice on him which WOULD have been the pin if Orange didn’t run in to break it up. Matt Hardy then tags himself in and tosses Quen into Orange to get him out of the ring and he lands a Twist of Fate on Yuta to get the pin and win the match; celebrating with the biggest smile you’ve ever seen on his face! The final tag in of Yuta dind’t make the Baby Faces look so good since he was JUST tagged out like two minutes ago, but aside from that this was a really great match! I didn’t even mind Nyla Rose running in to attack Kris because it was quick and the got a big reaction from the crowd! So far so good as we’re three for three on this episode! Can they continue this hot streak!?
Kris Statlander Vs. Nyla Rose
Statlander is accompanied to the ring by Orange Cassidy while Rose is accompanied by Vickie Guerrero
Now, I won’t go so far as to say this was a bad match, but this is definitely where the momentum slows down a bit as it’s not nearly as good as the last three matches we saw. Kris is still tenderized from that assault only a few minutes ago and things continue to go downhill for her as Nyla attacks before the bell. Things eventually even out to a back and forth exchange with Statlander getting the advantage after a Pendulum Moonsault, and Vickie and Orange get into a confrontation outside the ring. Well, I SAY confrontation, but Vickie just screeches at him like Black Canary and he goes down like a ton of bricks; clutching his head and hoping his brain won’t be oozing out of his ears by the time she’s done. This does cause a momentary distraction for Statlander however who gets caught by Nyla and is draped over the ropes for her to do her big Knee Drop, but Statlander just straightens out and walks away on her hands, so take THAT Nyla! Oh wait, Nyla just gets off the turnbuckle and tackles her to the ground. Okay, fair play. Next time, try a cartwheel instead of a handstand! It’s not enough to keep her down though as she manages to fight Nyla out of the corner and even lands a Powerbomb on her before going up top for an Area 451 splash! She hits her mark, she gets the pin, and she wins the match! The work was fine for what it was, but there wasn’t much to this match. Thankfully they kept it short and just got to the big flashy stuff so even if it is the “low point” of the show it was still pretty entertaining!
Britt Baker comes out to a standing ovation and meets Tony in the ring to cut a promo against Red Velvet who she will be facing on the first episode of Rampage! Her promo says she’s a Heel, but literally everything else screams Baby Face as the crowd cheers for her as she brags about being champion, and Red Velvet even tries to run in to get a cheap shot at her. She fails of course as Britt sees it coming a mile away so that she stands tall at the end of the promo, and perhaps this is the best way to make Baker work. She will always be cocky and mean spirited, but she has the skills to back it up (she didn’t even need Rebel (Not Reba) to back her up this time) and people just seem to like her as champion. Her next big opponent after Red Velvet is almost certainly Thunder Rosa who’s extremely over with the crowd as well, so it’s going to be interesting to see who’s side they take when it finally comes down to a head.
The Good Brothers Vs. The Dark Order (Evil Uno & Stu Grayson) – Impact Tag Team Title Match
The Good Brothers are accompanied to the ring by Brandon Cutler while The Dark Order are accompanied by Colt Cabana
I’m STILL a bit peeved at Uno and Grayson for leaving Hangman to get beaten last week (and I’m probably not the only one since Cabana was the only one to come out with them tonight), but I will never say no to watching one of their matches on Dynamite! Before The Good Brother can even make it to the ring, Grayson flips over the ropes; laying them both out and then throwing Anderson into the ring. The Dark Order work him over for a bit until Brandon Cutler interferes and drags Uno to the ground; which prompts Colt Boom-Boom Cabana to run around the outside and give this dude a running right hook that Cutler sells like he’s been hit by a freight train! He starts scrambling up the ramp only to run into Frankie Kazarian who ALSO lays him out and drags him to the back so that he can’t interfere further. After weeks of getting beaten over and over again, I guess this counts as a win for the ELITE HUNTER, but the damage is already done and The Good Brothers are getting the heat on Evil Uno. Grayson eventually gets the hot tag and runs wild on both of the Good Brothers before landing a Springboard Splash to get a two count on Anderson, and then Uno is tagged back in so the two of them land a few tandem moves; finishing with the Cannonball/450 combo that gets them a two count on Anderson. The two teams then try to land their finishers but neither can manage to complete the move until Doc Gallows distracts the ref with something and Uno tries to chase him away which proves to be the fatal mistake for The Dark Order as Karl Anderson lands a Cutter on Uno who rolls out of the ring and they finally land the Magic Killer on Grayson to win the match and retain the Impact Tag Titles. Similar to the last match, it’s not quite at the level of everything else on the show, but they made an entertaining match with the time that they had and I’m STILL holding out hope that Grayson gets a singles run at some point! Seriously, the guy looked GREAT here and I hope to see more of him now that Hangman is no longer the de-facto top star of the group.
QT’s Apology! Will he make things right with Tony Schiavone!?
QT Marshall is in the ring to apologize to Tony Schiavone over the protein shake incident, and of course QT weasels out of it by demanding an apology from Tony. Tony of course doesn’t so QT sends his goons to go grab Chris Schiavone; Tony’s son who’s out in the crowd minding his own business before being dragged into the ring. Tony tries to apologize for whatever it is QT is accusing him of, but instead of accepting it he just lands a Cutter on the guy. There’s someone in the back though who is NOT happy with what he’s seeing and so he comes out to put an end to it! That person is none other than Paul Wight who walks down to the ring and Choke Slams Aaron Solow before the rest of The Factory scampers off. I DO like the idea of The Factory being a faction for younger and greener guys to cut their teeth on, but feuding with an announcer, the announcer’s son, and ANOTHER announcer who also used to be a wrestler… I mean I’m INTERESTED to see where it’s going, but it’s not the feud I would have booked at this point.
Chris Jericho Vs. Wardlow – The Fourth Labor of Jericho
Wardlow is accompanied to the ring by MJF
Wardlow’s strength coupled with Jericho’s exhaustion means that this match is mostly heat as Jericho gets ONE Code Breaker at the start but then eats offense from Wardlow for several minutes uninterrupted. Powerbomb after Powerbomb, Suplex over Suplex, just no mercy for Jericho as he barely manages to hold on and continues to look for his chance! His time comes when Wardlow puts Jericho on the top turnbuckle for the Casualty of War, but he plays to the crowd which creates an opening for Jericho to drop down, knock him on his back, and put him in the Walls of Jericho! Wardlow isn’t looking good so MJF rakes Jericho’s eyes behind Ref Aubrey’s back to break up the hold; a victory that is short lived because MJF then tries to run into the ring with his Dynamite Diamond Ring, and is caught immediately. MJF is ejected, Wardlow is incensed, and while Ref Aubrey is dealing with this, MJF grabs Floyd The Bat and bashes Wardlow across the face and hits a Judas Effect just in time for the ref to turn around count the pin; winning the match and finishing his fourth labor. It certainly wasn’t the BEST of these labors, but it definitely made Wardlow look like a TOTAL beast!
MJF is not a man to go into something like this without a backup plan and sure enough Shawn Spears runs in and pounds on Jericho to try and soften him up even more before his inevitable match with MJF. Sammy Guevara runs in to try and break it up, but Wardlow is back up by that point and the two of them overwhelm Sammy while MJF locks the Salt of the Earth on Jericho who tries to tap out to the indifference of MJF. Hager eventually runs down to clear the ring, but the damage is already done and MJF has one more trick up his sleeve! See, he MAY have finally gotten his rematch but MJF still chooses the stipulations, and for next week he will not only be barred from using the Judas Effect during the match, Jericho can’t even come out to the song Judas!! And so the episode comes to an end with MJF unraveling on the stage as he SCREAMS at Jericho and the crowd because the rubber is about to hit the road, and he doesn’t like what he sees!
It lost a LITTLE bit of steam in the second half with matches that didn’t quite keep up with what we saw earlier in the show, but this is one of the best episodes they’ve done in a while! You can’t ALWAYS do a bunch of unconnected and mostly for fun matches as the storylines are what get people invested week to week, but letting these wrestlers just go out there and blow the minds of everyone in the crowd was a great decision and I thoroughly enjoyed this episode! There are a few things on the horizon of mild concern like the impending Christian Cage title matches and whatever is going on between Andrade and Pac, but they are still on a roll and it shows no signs of slowing!