AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
It feels like we JUST got done with the PPV, and already we’re building up to ANOTHER big show; in this case the Arthur Ashe Stadium show on the next episode which has been a huge feather in AEW’s cap since they started selling tickets for it, and everyone originally assumed that Danielson would premiere there. Instead, it looks like we’re gonna get a match which is much more exciting, and it looks like a pretty stacked card all things considered! Does this episode bring enough energy to get us pumped for yet another AEW event, or are we still all too exhausted from All Out for this to get us all that excited? Let’s find out!!
The show begins with CM Punk coming out for his entrance and to hang out with the crowd before eventually finding his way to the broadcast booth and he joins the announce team for most of the episode. I’m not sure if he has a lot of experience in that role, but he came off pretty well! A little green perhaps, but he’s got a lot of the strengths that Jericho brings to the table by having that in-ring experience that he can articulate well during matches.
Adam Cole Vs. Frankie Kazarian
Not wasting any time in getting this guy in front of the crowd, we start off with Adam Cole’s first match since joining AEW; helped along by none other than Frankie Kazarian who once again is the most underrated guy in the whole industry! A very good choice as you couldn’t ask for a better sparring partner for what is easily the best chance he’ll ever have at a first impression with a new audience! It starts with a good back and forth with Frankie getting a slight edge, but things start to go a bit sideways when Cole tosses him over the ropes to the floor and it looks like he slipped when he landed. It looks like he broke his fall with both his elbows and possibly his face, but he managed to get through the rest of the match just fine and I haven’t heard anything about an injury so it seems that he’s okay. That was the only rough spot in the match though and everything else looked REALLY solid with a lot of cool moves from both of them. Kazarian fends off Cole with a Leg Drop through the ropes before going for a Springboard Sunset Flip, but Cole rolls out and kicks him in the face before Grounding Kazarian with a headlock on the mat. Kazarian gets to do the Baby Face spot of slowly fighting out of the headlock before getting a surprise roll up on Cole that he transitions into a submission that Cole has to kick his way out of. From there it’s just great moves back and forth, a Neckbreaker from Cole, a German Suplex into a bridge from Kazarian, there’s even this one great spot where Kazarian is trying to put him in the Cross Face Chick Wing, but they are close to the post so Cole runs up and kicks off of it to knock Kazarian on his back and roll into a two count! It’s not as flashy as a true high flying match, but it finds a great balance between athleticism, technique, and strength that makes it feel really old school but with enough sizzle to not feel outdated. My favorite spot was probably when Cole lands a Super Kick and goes for a Panama Sunrise only for Kazarian to reverse it into an Alabama Slam which looked cool and made Kazarian look like the strongest dude on the planet for one shining moment there! Kazarian follows it up with a Springboard Leg Drop for a two count and they start trading blows back and forth. Kazarian gets the better of the exchange and goes for a Suplex, but Cole reverses it into an Ushigoroshi and gets a VERY close two count. Undeterred, Cole charges at Kazarian who tosses him onto the apron; throwing blows back and forth but neither one can land a hit until Kazarian goes for another Leg Drop through the ropes but Cole is ready for it this time and dodges it which leaves Frankie flat on his butt and he’s forced to roll away from the ropes. In doing so however, he gives Cole time to get to the top turnbuckle and he finally lands the Panama Sunrise followed by a Running Knee to get the pin and win the match! Cole proved himself in this to be a darn good wrestler which I’m sure most of the AEW audience didn’t need to be convinced of, but there are those in out there who needed something like this to really understand why everyone else is so excited for him, and honestly just as much credit goes to Kazarian who is always fantastic and will hopefully one day be TRULY recognized for it!
Cole gets the mic after the match and calls out Christian Cage, Luchasaurus, and Jungle Boy before confirming that at the Grand Slam episode of Rampage, he and the Young Bucks will face them in a Six Man Tag match! If it’s even half as good as the match here then I’m all for it, but with so much talent I’m sure it’ll be much better than that! Maybe even four fifths as good!
Sammy and Fuego are in the back being interviewed by Tony Schiavone next to Fuego’s brand new car that he bought with his contract money, and the first thing he does now that he has a modicum of stability in his life is to RISK IT ALL for a match against the TNT champ MIRO who crushed him like a grape in their last match! Okay, he’s not risking EVERYTHING, but he IS putting his car on the line if Miro will give him another chance at the title, and we hear from Miro later in the show who’s just as bewildered as I am but will gladly take the opportunity to win the car; not because he needs it (I’m sure God’s favorite champion has a sweet ride) but because he wishes to SMASH it like a bonus stage in Street Fighter. At this point I can’t see how Fuego wiggles out of this in a way that doesn’t make him look like a total fool, and the last thing I want is for my Baby Faces to be so willing to bring on their own humiliation.
MJF comes out to get some more cheap heat from the crows in order to build up his match against Brian Pillman Jr, and he even starts shouting at the ground to Pillman’s father who’s OBVIOUSLY in hell. He tells him… to tell his son… that he is gonna massacre him; a feat that I would VERY much like to see as I’m pretty sure Pillman isn’t a Danish Prince. In any case, Brian’s music hits and Wardlow runs up the ramp to meet him, but surprise! Pillman comes out from behind with a chair and starts menacing MJF. Wardlow races back before he can dent the chair over MJF’s head, but he doesn’t fear the big brute and even knocks him over the ropes, which forces the two Heels to scatter as Pillman stands strong in the ring. We then cut to a video recorded earlier in the day of JR interviewing Pillman, though it’s much more of a pep talk than anything else and he once again reiterates that he is more vicious than MJF could ever imagine. The match is on the next Dynamite at Arthur Ashe, and perhaps they’ll do something at Rampage, but it feels more like Pillman is being carried through this feud instead of leading the charge. MJF is getting the cheap heat, Moxley came out to make the save at the end of his last match, and now JR is pretty much guiding him through the promo. I think it was a mistake to keep Garrison and Hart away from this feud as they make a REALLY good team and I’d like to see how they would have built up Pillman Jr in these segments.
Daunte Martin & Matt Sydal Vs. FTR
FTR is accompanied to the ring by Tully Blanchard
I guess Mike Sydal was busy or something and we haven’t heard from Darius Martin in what feels like FOREVER (even if he’s injured he can’t cut a promo for his brother?) so they’re teaming up here to try and take on one of the most cohesive teams on the entire roster so you can probably guess how it goes. Then again, Daunte and Sydal are guys who hardly need to win matches and they do tell a pretty good story throughout the match and it gives Daunte something to build towards if they want to push him at some point. Daunte has the athleticism and big jumps, but against opponents who can defend themselves against those kinds of moves, he’s out of luck. FTR are either overpowering him at every turn or working together to cut his offense off at the knees, and so despite a few cool moves here and there, Daunte crumples like a paper cup pretty quickly and FTR start to get the heat. Daunte eventually manages to escape and tags in Matt Sydal who is a more well-rounded wrestler. He can’t jump quite as high, but he’s got some real muscle to him so he can fend off FTR on his own. Well… sort of. If there’s one part of the match that felt a bit oddly timed it’s his hot tag where he gets some good moves in where he and Daunte even land Double Splashes on FTR, but then as soon as that’s done FTR just get right back up and get the heat during the commercial. I guess you can’t always time things out to work with the commercial breaks, but I would have preferred a smoother transition from the Baby Face pop to more heat from the Heels. In any case, Sydal eventually makes it back to his corner and Daunte gives yet another IMPOSSIBLY high Springboard move and lands a flurry of awesome moves! Cash rolls him up for a two count and they start trading nearfalls until Cash starts to bait him around the ring. Once again proving their cohesiveness as a team, Dax tags in as soon as Cash runs past him, and they land a Big Rig on Daunte to get the pin and win the match. Despite its one awkward moment right in the middle of the match, I thought it was very well executed and I liked what the story they seem to be trying to tell here. AEW is pretty good about planting seeds early and this feels like it could be the start of something great if they do end up going all in on Daunte Martin!
Now if you haven’t heard, the match between Moxley and Suzuki did not go as planned as the show was running long and things had to be cut; including Suzuki’s entrance. This didn’t sit well with fans and so AEW has concocted a story out of it by having Suzuki be LIVID at the disrespect he received as well as claims that the referees were biased against him! Because of that, he and Lance Archer (who were a tag team in New Japan) will be facing Moxley and Kingston on the Arthur Ashe Stadium show.
Speaking of Arthur Ash, Malakai Black comes out for an in ring promo and he says there is an ENEMY IN THE CROWD TONIGHT! Is he talking about his opponent Cody Rhodes? Nope! It’s none other than freaking Rosario Dawson; one of Cody’s co-hosts on Go-Big Show! Not about to take this callout lying down, she jumps the barricade to confront him only for Cody to come down from the stairs on the other side. With Black distracted, Rosario Dawson JUMPS BLACK and starts trying to choke him out before Cody runs over to punch him in the face they brawl for several minutes into the crowd. It was corny to be sure, but considering that the rematch is next week with almost no build up, it does a decent job of generating some hype for it.
The Dark Order situation is devolving as the men continue to bicker and the women are above all of it. I was cautiously optimistic about the slow motion breakup of The Dark Order, but now they’re reaching sitcom annoying levels of dysfunction, so hopefully they have a plan to make this work rather than just dig the hole deeper.
Speaking of annoying, it’s Dan Lambert’s time to rant yet again, and this time he’s in the middle of the ring with Men of the Year as well as a few of his UFC cronies! Will someone PLEASE make this guy shut up!? Well someone finally answered my wish and none other than Jericho comes out with Jake Hager to tell Lambert to quit yapping while Judas plays throughout the arena! Lambert somehow has the sway here to cut the music off, but the crowd sings it anyway which was a nice touch; bringing the fans into the promo that is about how awesome AEW is and how old fogies like Lambert need to step back. It was a good promo and it looks like we’re setting up a Jericho & Hager Vs. Men of the Year match, but the buildup still didn’t have to take THIS long with THIS many rants from Lambert over the last month.
Jade Cargill Vs. Leyla Hirsch
Cargill is accompanied to the ring by Smart Mark Sterling
Cargill’s been booked as an unstoppable badass since she got at AEW, but that’s an image that can only work for so long and she’s gonna need to show that she can have legit matches against people in the company. Much like the opener, this match succeeds as much because of who is in the ring with her than by her skill alone as Hirsch is one of the best rising stars in the women’s division and gives Cargill an interesting challenge. Hirsch’s only chance is to ground Jade and so she spends most of her time trying to get her onto the mat; starting the match by going for a Double Leg Takedown and trying to hit the German Suplex. Jade’s not about to go down for those, but she does eat a Suicide Dive on the outside and takes a few hits in the corner from Hirsch, but her power is more than enough to retake the advantage as Hirsch FOOLISHLY goes for an Arm Breaker which is the worst submission hold a small wrestler can go for! A big wrestler’s advantage tends to be in their legs and with an Arm Bar she’s still free to use them, so Jade just stands up with Hirsch still dangling from her arm and just SLAMS her down to the mat! She gets the heat on Hirsch during the commercial, but when Jade puts her up on her shoulders, Hirsch repositions and locks in a choke. It’s better than an Arm Breaker, but Jade still has use of her legs and manages to whip her shoulders and throws Hirsch to the ground. Still, this has softened up Jade enough for Hirsch to FINALLY get the German Suplex for two count, and she follows up with a Suicide Dive and Running Knee for a second two count. Hirsch goes for a Moonsault but Jade rolls out of the way and lands a Pump Kick to Hirsch’s face before landing the Jaded Slam and getting the pin. It was definitely Jade’s toughest match yet and I think she came off quite well in it as did Hirsch who probably made a few too many small wrestler mistakes (ALWAYS GO FOR THE LEGS!) but still showed off some very impressive moves throughout!
CM Punk has been on commentary all night and Taz has finally had enough of it as he comes out with Hook to accuse him of trying to take his job. Punk is annoyed by this and starts staring down Hook when out of NOWHERE, Will Hobbs runs in and BASHES Punk in the back of the head! Punk tries to fight back but the damage is already done and Hobbs puts him through the announce table. It looks like Punk’s second match is going to be against Hobbs on the September Twenty-Fourth Rampage which should be an interesting matchup if nothing else.
Darby Allin Vs. Shawn Spears
Allin is accompanied to the ring by Sting while Spears is accompanied by Tully Blanchard
This was a bit of an odd one as the actual match itself was secondary to everything else that happened in it. The whole point was for Spears to be as big of a jerk as possible and so he attacks Darby before the bell rings, mean mugs Sting to get his ire up, and he even rubs Darby’s face paint off. If that wasn’t enough, he puts Darby in the Scorpion Death Lock and tries to land a C4 (Death Valley Driver) on the steel steps, but Darby manages to wriggle out of it and lands a Stunner over the ropes before a Suicide Dive that sends Spears AND himself onto the steel steps below. Darby then drags him back into the ring to land a Coffin Drop for the win, and that’s pretty much all there is to say about the match. I liked the spot where Darby is on the turnbuckle and Spears yanks on his necklace to pull him down, and Darby does land a Code Red which is always fun to see, but this was all a set up for what happens afterwards. FTR come out of nowhere and start bashing Sting and Darby. They do a decent job of fending the two off so Tully hits Sting with a chair; a shot that was probably not as strong as he was hoping as Sting wheels around and pushes him to the corner by his neck, but then FTR gang up on him and take him down along with Darby. To put the cherry on top of this beat down, Sting eats a Spiked Pile Driver from FTR before getting his own face paint rubbed off by Tully.
Bryan Danielson Speaks – The American Dragon is Back!
Tony Schiavone calls Bryan Danielson to the ring to talk about his challenge to Kenny Omega, but before he can get a word in edgewise he’s interrupted by Don Callis with Omega following close behind. Don spends a few minutes spouting insults at Danielson which is AWESOME as usual, but Danielson tells him to shut up and focuses on Kenny. He doesn’t even want to challenge him for the belt; he just wants to give the people what they want and asks Kenny once again, will he meet him in the ring? Callis starts shouting NO to which the crowd starts shouting YES, and Danielson shouts him down again to force Kenny to answer for himself and not hide behind Callis’s back! Listen to your fighting spirit, Kenny, and answer the question! Is it a yes or a no!? Kenny takes a moment to consider… and says YES to the consternation of Don Callis, and so they will face each other on the next Dynamite! Not a bad promo and not a bad build up to a match that everyone wants to see, but I can definitely see a much more in depth and dynamic feud built between them in the future. For now, they just need to get it done before the fans revolt and I have no doubt that they’ll love every moment of it!
Jon Moxley & Eddie Kingston Vs. 2.0
2.0 are accompanied to the ring by Daniel Garcia
Much like the Darby/Spears match, there was not much to this which is a shame because I genuinely like everyone involved. 2.0 get a brief advantage by attacking before the bell rings but it’s not long before Moxley is tearing Matt Lee apart. Matt runs as fast as he can out of the ring with Moxley following close behind, so Garcia charges and instead of bashing Moxley is sent into the stairs. This gives Jeff Parker an opening for a Drop Kick however which hits its mark and gives 2.0 a chance to get some heat during the commercial. As soon as we come back, the duo screw up an Irish Whip which gives Moxley a chance to escape, but instead of getting Kingston in he goes after 2.0 and ends up eating a bunch more damage before FINALLY getting Kingston in. Now this could be a bit of insight into Moxley that could fuel an eventual breakup between him and Kingston much like Daunte’s flaws were on display in his match, but honestly I don’t think that’s the case and it was just an attempt to build up the hot tag a bit more while keeping Moxley in the ring longer. Kingston gets them both in the same corner and lands a bunch of Machinegun Chops before giving Matt Lee a Suplex. Parker uses this brief window to get a surprise roll up, but Kingston kicks out and lands the Spinning Back Fist. With Parker on the ropes and Matt Lee effectively dealt with after a DDT, Kingston tags in Moxley so they can finish off Parker with a Lariat Suplex combination and get the pin to win the match.
This was all just a preamble for what happened next which is that Suzuki comes out with PLENTY of time for his music to play, and Lance Archer attacks Kingston while everyone is focused on Suzuki. Everyone starts brawling, Moxley manages to barely fend off a Gotch Style Pile Driver on the timekeeper’s table, and the episode comes to an end in the midst of all this mayhem!
The show had a lot going for it, but it just kinda petered out at the end for me. The final two matches felt really insubstantial and were just there to set up angles for next week’s show which I guess is fine, but I’ve seen AEW do this kind of match in a way that the match itself was important on top of what it meant for future storylines. Heck, we just had a really solid showing from Daunte Martin that ALSO gave us hints at things to come, and the Adam Cole/Frankie Kazarian match to kick things off was fantastic BEFORE they announced the six man tag match! Perhaps it’s also that I’m just not that invested in another Sting/Darby tag match nor in seeing Moxley/Suzuki fight again. I’m glad that he finally got his full entrance, but it’s still an angle that I feel out of the loop for and probably will still feel that way when they actually have the match on the next show. Aside from that, there were a few corny things here and there like Cody’s big return and the way they are building up Brian Pillman Jr, but the other matches on the show were solid and more than enough to keep my interest while they put all the pieces in place for Arthur Ashe. After all they did here to build it up, it BETTER be a good show is all I’m saying!