Super Wrestling: AEW Dynamite (08-18-2021)

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

We’ back with another week of AEW action, and not only are we one week closer to the All Out PPV, it’s the first Dynamite since the premier episode of Rampage and all the fallout that came from that! Can AEW prove they can manage three hours of television without things getting spread too thin or storylines getting too big and sprawling? Let’s find out!!

We begin with episode with Jon Moxley and Eddie Kingston who have some sort of announcement to make. Of course, being wrestlers, they can’t just simply do that and are gonna go through their full entrances in the crowd before saying a word; little do they realize that that’s what THEY are expecting! Who are THEY? Why, none other than 2.0 and Daniel Garcia who bash the two of them with pipes in the middle of the crowd and run to the ring to call out Darby and Sting who oblige the request, and so we begin…

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Sting & Darby Allin Vs. 2.0 (Matt Lee & Jeff Parker) – Texas Tornado Tag Match

2.0 is accompanied to the ring by Daniel Garcia

The former Ever Rise going from NXT castoffs to big TV stars in just a few short weeks on AEW, going so far as to beat up the former champ and one of the most over guys at the company, will no doubt a thorn in WWE’s side for months on end, especially with the latest batch of releases from the company, but regardless of that, both Matt and Jeff have proven themselves to be great additions to AEW and their association with Daniel Garcia has been one of the better things about the last two weeks of the show. As for the match itself, they keep it short and sweet with a lot of selling from the Heels and a lot of big Baby Face spots for Sting. Also, I guess the TEXAS part of this means No DQ because the bell has barely rung before they take things to the top of the stadium to duke it out there with Daniel Garcia backing up 2.0. The Baby Faces aren’t running away with this however as they do eat a bunch of offense from 2.0, particularly this one spot where 2.0 basically threw Darby up into the top part of an entrance way (google says it’s called a jamb) and then falls back down to Earth onto his back which frankly isn’t the WORST bump I’ve seen Darby Allin take. However, they eventually get the upper hand and make their way to ring while a freshly recovered Kingston drags Daniel Garcia away to presumably take a beating for his part in all this. There are a few more rough spots that the Baby Faces take like when Darby is Suplexed into his skateboard (wheels up) and when Sting eats a Powerbomb into a table, but the Baby Faces are resilient and Sting basically No Sells the table spot to the utter dismay of 2.0. Sting lands a Double Scorpion Death Drop on the two of them and THEN puts them both in a Scorpion Death Lock; both of whom tap out immediately; winning the match and once again putting 2.0 right in their place! It was definitely a fun opening match, and while I still don’t LOVE everything that Darby is willing to do in the ring, this was comparatively a less intensive match and the sheer power of THE ICON STING at the end of the match got the crowd in a great mood for the rest of the show!

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We cut to a video of what took place prior to the show where Sammy Guevara proposed to his girlfriend in the middle of the ring. I’m not sure how I feel about this kind of spectacle involving non-wrestlers. It’s not the same as an ACTUAL public proposal because this was surely worked out ahead of time, but still it feels a bit much when wrestlers rope their non-wrestling friends and family into stuff like this. In any case, we cut to Tully and Spears who mock him for this which leads us nicely into…

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Sammy Guevara Vs. Shawn Spears

Spears is accompanied to the ring by Tully Blanchard

The story of this match is more or less the same as EVERY Shawn Spears match; namely his fragile ego needing to be stoked and so he tries to prove how great he is instead of just winning the match. It starts off well enough for him as he gets a cheap shot in during Sammy’s entrance and eventually tossed him into the ring steps before he and Tully land an Assisted Pile Driver on him on the outside, but this is such a flagrant display of poor sportsmanship that Ref Aubrey tosses Tully out of the match. Without his hype man, Shawn must win this on his own and he DOES get some heat on Sammy to be sure and even manages to dodge a Springboard Cutter from him, but he keeps going back to taunt his fiancee instead of finishing things quickly. During one of these moments where he menaces Sammy’s fiancee who by the way is not selling it (he’s not a TV personality though so I don’t really expect her to), Sammy rushes in from the side and gets a forearm strike on Spears that halts his momentum in its tracks. Sammy then gets a guardrail from under the ring and bridges it between the ring apron and the barricade before going back to work over Spears. The two eventually Springboard their way to the top rope and are staring each other down, but instead of doing something useful, Spears is once again looking to get under his skin and gives Sammy the finger. It was a move so effective at shaking Sammy that he just ignores it and lands a GIGANTIC Cutter from the top rope, so good job there Shawn! To his credit, Spears recovers rather quickly however and lands a C4 from the middle rope for a two count so if he’d just gotten his priorities straight he might have stood a chance here. Instead, he’s waited too long and when he tries to set Sammy up for another C4 onto the rail bridge, Sammy wriggles out of it and gives him a boot to the face before lifting him up and dropping him into the guardrail. He rolls Spears back in, lands a 630 splash, and… does NOT get the pin as Spears kicks out at two! Not deterred and certainly not looking to showboat, he gives Spears a bunch of Knee Strikes before lifting him up and landing a GTH which FINALLY gets him the pin! It was a good match and I like both guys involved! I think Spears MIGHT need a little bit more than what he’s usually given, but he does play the role of the cocky heel VERY well and he and Sammy seem to have some great chemistry whenever they get in the ring.

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Tony Schiavone interviews Christian Cage in the back, who won his match against Kenny Omega on Rampage, and I guess he won BOTH Impact belts that Kenny had. I don’t know how often more than one belt is on the line for a match (aside from the Tag belts, but there are TWO people involved so it’s not the same thing) but it certainly seems rare enough that you’d think they’d make a bigger deal about it, but frankly it seems that even the two belts COMBINED don’t hold a candle to the prestige of the AEW belt which Cage will be challenging for at the All Out PPV. Before he can really get into the details of this however, Don Callis interrupts and talks down to Cage for a few minutes before Cage tells him to shut up and to check on his boy Kenny who’s probably still shaking in his boots over his loss on Friday. Even if the two belts thing feels a bit odd, I’m starting to come around on the Christian Cage thing. Him being the Impact champ could lead to some cool matches on the other brand and even it definitely gives him a DEFINED spot in AEW where until now he’s felt a little bit out of place; not exactly a manager but still filling that sort of role with Jungle Boy. In any case, I think we’re definitely in for something interesting at the PPV when these two meet again in the ring.

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Dan Lambert is back (the guy who talked smack about wrestling before eating a Black Hole Slam from Lance Archer) and the guy goes on a rant about cancel culture which in MOST cases would be totally obnoxious in a bad way, but he actually manages to make it funny due to how much of a shameless heel he is. His big announcement here though is that he has two UFC dudes backing him up this week, Andrei Arlovski and Junior Dos Santos, and they are ready to face off with ANYONE at AEW who has the nerve to come out here and stop him from ranting once again about how AEW is full of beta gymnast loudmouths and things were better in the old days. Of course Lance Archer comes out and the two guys get ready to fight, but for whatever reason Scorpio Sky and Ethan Page run out to attack him on the ramp before he can face off against the UFC guys. I guess they’ve got a plan here for something, but it seems a bit cheap to introduce these two guys and then let someone else do their dirty work. So what, is Lambert gonna be in Scorpio Sky’s or Ethan Page’s corner when THEY fight Lance Archer? Not exactly what was promised at the start of the promo but we’ll see where it all goes.

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The Young Bucks Vs. Jurassic Express (Jungle Boy & Luchasaurus) – AEW Tag Title Match

The Bucks are accompanied to the ring by Brandon Cutler and The Good Brothers while Jurassic Express are accompanied by Marko Stunt

Don Callis joins the commentary team for this match

I know that Jurassic Express has been on the show recently, but it’s only been in low key matches against Hardy Family Office, so this is once again an example of AEW doing a bad job of communicating their win/loss rankings despite having the numbers to back it up. This team going up against The Bucks isn’t a BAD thing, but in the context of a ranking system that they WANT us to take seriously, it just feels out of nowhere for these two to be at the top of the list right now. Phew! Now that I got that off my chest, let’s talk about this very cool match! There’s nothing particularly clever or unique about it as both sides are doing what they usually do, The Bucks are as obnoxious as they are talented while Jurassic Express knows how to get a crowd to pop, but it’s all done as well as you could hope for a TV match like this. Nick Jackson starts the match by taking Jungle Boy lightly and spends the first few minutes showboating and mocking while dodging all of Jungle Boy’s moves, but during a cold spray spot, Jungle Boy manages to land a Suicide Dive and gets a few more moves on him before tagging in Luchasaurus who goes on a rampage against both of them with big chops and big throws. Soon after, Nick Jackson is on the apron and Jungle Boy jumps over the ropes and lands a Hurricanrana that throws Nick to the floor; an impressive move that sadly doesn’t give Jungle By any momentum as he eats a kick from Matt Jackson only moments later. The Buck gets the heat on Jungle Boy from there, but he manages to get the hot tag to Luchasaurus who once again runs wild and DESTROYS The Bucks to the delight of the crowd! He doesn’t manage to get a pin on either of them, but he does get them significantly worn out and Jungle Boy manages to land this ridiculous Superplex on him using Luchasaurus’s back as leverage. Probably not the BEST idea as the move gets kinda crooked, but the crowd loves it whenever Luchasaurus does anything so it got a big pop from them and Jungle Boy got a two count for his efforts. The Bucks manage to land an Assisted Indie Taker on Jungle Boy who kicks out but is now in pretty bad shape as well, and while Marko is on the apron trying to coax him back up, he gets SMASHED in the back by none other than Kenny Omega who is wielding a chair and beseeches The Bucks to use it to bring this match to an end! The Good Brothers are doing their part to distract the ref while The Bucks get Jungle Boy in position, but before he can see the fruits of his nefarious labor, Kenny gets attacked by Christian Cage and drags him to the back. This distraction allows Jungle Boy to get Matt up into a Suplex and CRASHES him into the chair; tossing it out and going for the pin just as Christian Cage did on Rampage! The ref gets to one… two… NOPE! Nick Jackson runs in to break up the pin at the last second! The Baby Faces then put Matt Jackson in something called the Thoracic Express which looks like COMPLETE wizardry to me (Luchasuarus somehow tosses and flips Matt Jackson in midair right into the waiting arms of Jungle Boy who drops him down into a Sit Out Powerbomb) but once again Nick Jackson breaks up the pin. Seeing the desperate situation their buddies are in, The rest of the Elite jump in to try and distract Jungle Boy from doing anything ELSE to Matt Jackson and so Luchasaurus throws himself on top of them to keep them away; a move that will sadly prove to be their undoing as Matt and Nick just BARELY manage to land a BTE Trigger out of nowhere on Jungle Boy who stays down for the pin as Luchasaurus can’t get there in time to break it up. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t have bothered making this a title match. There’s no reason they can’t just have this be non-title match, especially since it’s ALL about Christian Cage at the end, and saving title matches for more fleshed out story lines or even for big shows like the PPV would make them more meaningful. Still, both sides managed to tell a basic enough story as well as they could and peppered it with some FANTASTIC moves, so what’s not to like here? Solid match in my book!

If losing the match wasn’t bad enough, Gallows and Kenny come back to the ring with Christian Cage in tow and the entire Elite bash him and Jurassic Express in the ring despite the match being well over. This actually ends up being more strategic than sadistic as having Cage helpless before them allows Kenny Omega to FINALLY land the One Winged Angel on him which is no doubt the confidence boost he needed in the run up to their match on the PPV.

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Tony Schiavone is interviewing Britt Baker in the back about her match on Rampage and to reintroduce Jamie Hayter to the AEW Universe. She says she’s here to sort out the women’s division on behalf of Britt and she challenges Red Velvet to a match on next week’s Dynamite. I don’t recall how good Jamie Hayter is in the ring, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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Paul Wight and QT Marshall – Is this a fight he can win!?

Tony Schiavone somehow way to the ring teleported his and calls out Paul Wight who says he feels GREAT after tossing QT and that punk Aaron Solo to the curb last week, but of course QT has to come out and stir the pot. Honestly though, he does have a pretty decent point here as Paul’s hip has been WRECKED in the last few years and he’s had multiple implants to keep him mobile; some of which QT shows on the titantron. Paul however isn’t about to be discouraged or shamed for his medical conditions and to prove it he’s going to beat QT at the All Out PPV; a revelation that makes QT’s eyes bug out in a VERY comical fashion! I was skeptical of using QT and The Factory for a Paul Wight storyline instead of using them to build up a young Baby Face, but this was a GREAT promo and it’s certainly gonna help to fill out an otherwise thin looking PPV.

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Speaking of the PPV, it looks like AEW is aware that relying on CM Punk to sell it is only gonna get them so far, so Tony (once again teleporting all over the place) is in the back with The Elite and inform them that there will be a Tag Team Eliminator match in the next week or so where the winner of that will face The Young Bucks in a Steel Cage match! Okay, well that just kinda came out of nowhere! Granted it sounds AWESOME as I don’t think I’ve seen The Bucks in a cage before, but they’re gonna have to work double time to make this not seem like a random tournament just to fill a spot in a PPV.

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At one point AEW was saying that there would be a match today between Brian Cage and Ricky Starks, but that was eventually pulled from the lineup and instead we have Taz in the middle of the ring with Hook to bring out the FTW champ for the crowd to fawn over. Ricky saunters his way to the stage and once again calls out Brian Cage for being a punk; but he’s not just talking the talk this time, he’s walking the walk! Well… sort of. He directs everyone to the titantron where Will Hobbs is in the process of laying out Brian Cage to the delight of Ricky, but then Cage starts making a comeback which sends Starks running for the hills as the somewhat befuddled Taz and Hook try to catch up to him. Kind of an odd little segment there as not much happened. I mean we already knew that Cage was tough and Starks was a coward, so this just feels like a placeholder while we stretch this feud out. My guess is that they want to hold off on it until the PPV, but if that’s the case I’d be using what little time we have left to build it up more instead of just keeping it warm on the back burner.

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Alex Marvez is either sick or the Time Variance Authority finally realized he was another Loki variant because Tony Schiavone is all over this show and is now interviewing Death Triangle in the back about Pac’s challenge to Andrade El Idolo at All Out. Andrade apparently has accepted it and Pac congratulates him for getting an ounce of courage, but then Andrade and Chavo Guerrero come in and hand a Stephen King sized novel to Tony Schiavone with stipulations for the match. It looks like it’s on between Pac and Andrade, both of whom could REALLY use a blow away match right now and frankly so could the PPV itself.

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Thunder Rosa Vs. Penelope Ford

Still no Kip Sabian, but I’m glad that Ford is getting some ring time despite that as I still think she’s one of the more talented women at AEW; especially in that first year where they were having trouble getting the division where they needed it to be. At this point though, the bar has been raised significantly, and while this is a solid match it starts off feeling a LITTLE bit stiff and a overly bit staged. There’s some underwhelming selling throughout and some of the moves take a bit too long to set up and pull off, but there’s plenty of good stuff in here to enjoy; especially this early spot where Ford lands a VERY solid Cutter on Rosa outside the ring that for me was the turning point. This leads to the heat during the commercial where the story seems to be that Ford has a bit of advantage in terms of technique and finesse, but Rosa is able to keep her head above water with her power and stamina. Rosa eventually evades a kick which gets Ford caught up in the ropes, and she makes her comeback with some corner splashes and a Missile Drop Kick. She then gets a two count with a Butterfly Suplex and tries to follow up with a Fire Thunder Driver, but Ford wriggles away and puts Rosa in a complicated submission hold (with a bridge and everything!) that Rosa eventually rolls out of due to her superior power and damages her leg in a Single Leg Crab. Rosa follows up with a Death Valley Driver, but Ford is out out yet and gets a Back Breaker before once again puts her in the complicated submission hold. Sadly the second time is NOT the charm for Ford as Rosa once again rolls out of it and puts her in a submission of her own that Ford taps out of. It took a few minutes to get going, but I enjoyed the eventual war of submissions that it turned into and am glad they are taking their time in building up Thunder Rosa for her eventual title shot against Baker.

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Arn and Brock Anderson are in the back with Tony to discuss the youngster’s next match which is against none other than Malakai Black. Arn tries to talk him out of it, but Brock is not deterred in the slightest and I can only assume this is another Austin Gunn situation where the new big bad Heel is gonna take out a fresh faced youngster for several weeks just to show once again how devastating he is. Speaking of Austin, when’s he coming back? I always liked that guy and his absence is hardly helping anything since Ogogo hasn’t been seen for weeks!

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We cut to Jon Moxley in the back who’s been on something of a tear recently with his promos and I’m starting to wonder if they really are gonna try to turn him Heel. I mean sure, he calls out The Elite for being over protected goofs, but he also goes in on Hangman Adam Page for being a cliched sad cowboy (one he can drink easily drink under the table) and he even goes after Christian; saying that he should have stayed retired! It’d be interesting to see if its POSSIBLE to get this crowd to boo Moxley, but making him bitter and paranoid is a pretty good start. He challenges Daniel Garcia to a match on Rampage to see if he REALLY has what it takes to step to the king of this jungle so he’s not going Heel just yet, but the hints are definitely there if you ask me!

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MJF Vs. Chris Jericho – Fifth Labor of Jericho

Jericho cannot use the Judas Effect and he must come out without an entrance

Pretty much everyone was surprised that the final match in the Five Labors of Jericho is happening for free on TV instead of held off for the PPV. After all, it’s one of the biggest storylines going on at the moment, and the PPV could use a few more high profile matches; assuming of course they aren’t expecting CM Punk to sell this thing on his marketable face alone. Well not to jump ahead too much, but I can see why this wasn’t gonna be on the PPV. It’s still a good match, but I would not call this PPV worthy; nor is it the kind of match that gets people pumped to see what’s next given the way it ends. It starts off well enough with Jericho coming out to the crowd singing his theme song without the music playing which makes MJF give this VERY peeved looking face, and on top of that Jericho remains dominant for the opening few minutes of the match. MJF is such a perfect Heel because his selling is top notch whenever he needs to make something look painful (he eats a Springboard Drop Kick like a champ!) but he’s also legitimate enough that you can buy it when he kicks out of big moves or manages to make a comeback. Said comeback starts when he tosses Jericho into the ring post and he starts gets the heat throughout the commercial break. Jericho eventually fights back and lands a few big moves on MJF like the Lionsault and the Top Rope Hurricanrana, but nothing is keeping this guy down. What it ends up coming down to is a battle of submissions as MJF locks in the Salt of the Earth on Jericho’s bad arm, but he rolls out and puts him in the Walls of Jericho. However, MJF quickly manages to roll out of it and kicks Jericho away. They slug it out for a bit before MJF puts Jericho in the Walls of Jericho himself, but his inexperience with the move shows as Jericho makes it to the ropes to break it. MJF goes for the Dynamite Diamond Ring to finish Jericho for good, but he’s caught by Ref Aubrey who takes the ring and throws it at. Whlie this is happening however, Jericho manages to hit him with Floyd the Bat and almost goes for the Judas Effect before catching himself and stopping halfway through. Using this moment’s uncertainty MJF boots him, locks in the Salt of the Earth again, and actually manages to submit Jericho. MJF through his nonsensical challenges proved to himself that he was the better man. He doesn’t get to use the Dynamite Diamond Ring but Jericho hits him with a bat shot. Even if there was a moment’s hesitation for Jericho who had to stop himself form using the Judas Effect, MJF recovered quickly enough to take advantage of that and crank in the Salt of the Earth. Now this is where things get a bit tricky for me as we’ll need to see how Jericho handles things next. A problem with Baby Faces, in that they will put themselves through hell on Earth to only concede their inferiority to someone who didn’t have to put in a fraction of the effort. Honor is more often used by the powerful to hold down the disenfranchised than a genuine pursuit of character and that doesn’t make for a compelling story for me, so if it’s gonna be one big pity party from Jericho, then nah; I ain’t into it buddy. If he’s fine with having lost and has accepted it, but is still going to make The Pinnacle’s life miserable as there are four other members of each team with their own feuds, then that could work. The match was good and MJF winning is not the worst thing in the world, but hopefully they have an idea on what to do next instead of just letting the story end here.

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It’s not the best show that AEW has done in the last few weeks, but they definitely started making progress towards the PPV which is only a few weeks away. Still, it’s only just the start of a few things, and we’re gonna need AEW to pull out all the stops in the next few weeks to make matches such as the Tag Team Cage match and the Andrade Vs. Pac match feel like main event battles instead of just filler for what will ostensibly be the CM Punk show. I hope that’s no the case, but there’s still work to be done if AEW is trying to keep that from happening.

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