AEW Dynamite is owned by All Elite Wrestling, Tony Khan, Shahid Khan, and TNT
I think I might be feeling Wrestling Burnout again as I haven’t been too excited about the last few weeks of Dynamite despite the reception being quite strong from everyone else. I mean I COULD just have the most accurate opinion out of anyone else who covers these shows, but chances are I just need to give it a bit of time and to see the right matches for me to get back into the groove of things. Will this episode manage to jumpstart my enthusiasm for AEW, or will I remain a sourpuss for a while longer? Let’s find out!!
Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy, Christian Cage, and Bryan Danielson Vs. Adam Cole, The Young Bucks, and Kenny Omega – 8 Man Tag match
As much of a marquee match as this is, I’m always skeptical of throwing THIS many people in the ring as it’s either gonna have a lot of people doing nothing on the corners or descend into utter chaos. In this match they manage to do both, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. For most of this match, it’s the Jungle Boy show as he spends most of the time in the ring and does a fair job fending off The Bucks and Cole. Even when he tags someone in its usually to do a tandem move before the new guy tags out and puts Jungle Boy back in. This works for a bit as Jungle Boy and Christian Cage bury Adam Cole under a flurry of offense, but Jungle Boy perhaps overstays his welcome once Nick Jackson tries the distraction on the apron which allows Cole to land a big kick and start the heat. This is also the only time we see Kenny Omega in the ring during the first three-quarters of the match as he tags in to pick at the bones of Jungle Boy, before tagging back out a moment later while the Baby Faces can do nothing but watch him strut. Jungle Boy eventually manages to fight off both Bucks and gets the tag to Danielson who goes after the legal man Matt Jackson with his Chops and Yes Kicks, and as soon as he simply LOOKS towards the Heels’ corner, Omega runs off like a scared chicken. Danielson’s run is brief however as he tags in Luchasaurus who gets a HUGE pop from the crowd and keeps the pressure on Matt Jackson. It’s not long before he tags in Jungle Boy, but in flagrant disregard of the rules they ALL hit the ring and knock the Heels off the apron so that all four can land corner splashes on Matt Jackson; ending with a Tail Whip/Face Buster combo from Jungle Boy and Luchasaurus that would have gotten the pin if the Heels didn’t break it up. Now that all eight guys are in the ring, they just start hammering each other until Christian takes a Melzer Driver outside the ring. With Cage out of the match and Jungle Boy taking a lot of damage from all four of them, it’s time for Danielson to get the Hot Tag and Jungle Boy is struggling to get to the corner. The Bucks go for an Assisted Suplex on Jungle Boy, but this proves to be just the opportunity he’s looking for as he fights against the move and turns it into Stereo DDTs. Omega tags in to try and stop him but is too late to stop Jungle Boy from tagging in Danielson and both are alone in the ring for the first time since their match at Grand Slam. The crowd pops for it and they only get louder as the two start exchanging strikes! Omega gets the best of it with a kick, but Danielson quickly recovers and starts landing his big moves on him. Corner Splashes, Chop/Kicks, a top rope Hurricanrana, and even a Diving Headbutt all hit their target, but Danielson only gets a two count because the Bucks run in and break up the pin. More chaos as everyone runs in until the ring is cleared and Danielson goes for the Tiger Driver followed by the Cattle Mutilation which also ends up getting broken up by The Bucks; this time from a Senton by Matt Jackson. Danielson tags in Luchasaurus who cleans house in a VERY impressive and over the top manner; so much so that he gets ALL four of The Elite into the corners of the ring and starts doing splashes on each of them. The one who escapes is Adam Cole who gets a kick and goes for a Panama Sunrise, but he is caught by Luchasaurus in one hand while Kenny gets caught in the other. He tosses them both down which cues even MORE chaos as all seven remaining guys hit a bunch of moves, but it all leads to Luchasaurus eating a Low Blow and rolling out the ring while Jungle Boy eats a Panama Sunrise. Danielson is up next and tries to fend off all four (which he REALLY shouldn’t NEED to do if the ref is paying attention), but is eventually overwhelmed and eats a Triple Super Kick. He rolls out and Jungle Boy is the legal man who ends up eating a FOUR person Superkick Party and it’s finally enough to keep him down for the three count. It was definitely a good match considering just how many moves they managed to fit in there, but for me, it was too chaotic. I think the magic number for a tag team match is three, and once you get higher than that things start to get too long and the story gets lost in the shuffle of bodies; like the wrestling equivalent of too many cooks in the kitchen. I’m sure everyone here will continue to have great matches with each other in the coming weeks, but I’d rather they be smaller matches spread over a longer period of time instead of trying to get everyone in the ring as soon and as often as possible.
Punk comes out for a promo to the continued adulation of the crowd; something he makes clear that he is FAR from getting tired of! The promo is a bit more rambling than his previous ones were, and he actually breaks the fourth wall here in announcing that he will have a match with Daniel Garcia TONIGHT instead of on Friday. Dynamite and Rampage are usually done back to back so while the live feed cuts off on Wednesday, they keep going for another hour or so to get footage for Rampage. So yes, he’s TECHNICALLY correct in that he will be facing Daniel Garcia later that night (a match I’m VERY much looking forward to!), it is a bit weird for him to phrase it that way for the people watching at home. IN any case, he’s still good at what he does and still gets the crowd going, so even if this one felt a bit slapdash it was still fun to see. Probably not as fun as his match against Garcia will be, but still!
Here’s where things get a little weird. We cut to a video where Arn is in Cody’s backyard; rattling off a monologue to the camera and burning a jacket in a barrel. Pretty standard stuff for the high drama world of wrestling, but what makes this AMAZING is that Cody comes to the balcony and clearly had NO IDEA this was going to happen! He’s befuddled and a little annoyed that this dude is in his backyard burning stuff, and Arn is just going on like this makes all the sense in the world. It’s so bizarre it’s almost like an Arrested Development bit or something you’d see on It’s Always Sunny, and while I get the sense that we’re supposed to be taking this seriously I just couldn’t help but laugh at it!
Sammy Guevara Vs. Bobby Fish – TNT Title Match
So yeah, Bobby Fish is HERE all of a sudden to have a match with Sammy! It’s certainly in the spirit of the TNT title (at least during Cody’s run) but if this is actually gonna lead to anything is still a mystery. Well whatever the future plans may be for Robert Fishington, he needs to have a good match here to establish himself in front of the new audience. It starts off pretty straightforward with some lockups and strike exchanges that Bobby gets the better of, but Sammy’s agility and athleticism let him come back in a big way with some flips and a Single Leg Drop Kick. That said, Bobby’s a smart guy and uses his experience to outmaneuver Sammy at a few key moments like when Sammy goes for a Springboard but ends up tumbling off the ropes when Fish lands a perfectly timed kick to the back of the knee. They go back and forth for a bit with Sammy hitting flashy moves while Fish hits effective ones, with Sammy hitting a Spanish Fly that he assumed knocked all the wind out of Fish so he went to the top rope only for Fish to get back up, grab him on the ropes, and land an Avalanche Falcon Arrow. Despite how effectively he outmatched Sammy, he only got a two count for his efforts and TRIES to press the advantage with a few more moves and nearfalls, but Sammy will not stay down! Fish lines up for a Roundhouse kick in the hopes that this will knock the kid’s head off, but Sammy ducks the move, grabs him, puts him on his shoulders, and lands the GTH to get the pin and win the match against Fish! It was pretty good and I liked what I saw from Bobby Fish. He’s not as instantly iconic as say Adam Cole was, but I can see why he and Cole were part of the same faction for so long in NXT.
Despite Sammy’s victory, there is trouble in the air as Dan Lambert and his MMA crew wander in through the crowd to intimidate Sammy like they’re the Children of the Corn. In fairness, I CAN see Dan Lambert as a grownup Isaac, though their tactics are not QUITE as brutal as none of them are wielding machetes and sickles. Instead, they start to pound on Sammy in the ring with Fuego running in to try and make the save, but… I mean come on, it’s Fuego against half a dozen giant MMA fighters; what do YOU think happened? Fortunately for those two, Jericho’s music hits and he and Hager rush the ring to clean house and everyone scatters. Lambert grabs the mic and after begrudgingly listening to the fans sing Judas, he lets everyone know his disdain for Philly; so much so that Instead of wasting their time here, Junior dos Santos along with The Men of The Year will face Jericho, Hager, and Sammy at the Miami show in a few weeks instead of settling their differences here and now! Hey, if it means we’re getting another match out of all this Lambert nonsense then great; I just hope it’s not a copy and paste of the last match these two had with Men of the Year.
Tony Khan’s Big Announcement – A New Title for AEW!?
Dynamite will be moving to TBS in January, and Tony Schiavone (speaking for Tony Khan) is announcing a TBS title; specifically for the women’s division to parallel the TNT title that is in the men’s. The first champion will be determined by an upcoming tournament and honestly, this couldn’t have come soon enough. For almost two years, the division has felt rather shallow because they only had the one belt while the men’s division had three to chase after; four if you include the FTW title. Sure, there SHOULD be more storylines to work with than just title chases, but if that’s GOING to be the primary motivation for the division, then doubling the number of belts will only mean twice as many interesting storylines to tell.
Darby Allin Vs. Nick Comoroto
Darby is accompanied to the ring by Sting while Comoroto is accompanied by Aaron Solow
I don’t know, I’m just not feeling Darby recently and this storyline between him and MJF isn’t exactly making me sit on the edge of my seat. The match itself should be fine, but I feel like we’re running out of momentum here and he’s kind of just spinning his wheels no matter who he’s up against. As for this match with Comoroto, it’s fine as a quick squash match. Darby attacks Comoroto before the bell and lands a few Coffin Splashes and Drop Kicks with no offense from Comoroto. It isn’t until Darby tries for a Stunner that Comoroto finally lands SOMETHING as he catches Darby and drops him to the mat which starts the heat segment during the commercial. Darby eventually fights back and lands a Stunner on Comoroto which he follows up with a Coffin Drop and gets the pin. After the match has ended, QT gets a Diamond Cutter on Sting… who absolutely no sells it. He’s back up immediately to the utter horror QT, and Sting lands a kick to the balls followed by a Scorpion Death Drop to teach him a lesson he won’t soon forget. Fun stuff I suppose, but just kind of THERE in the middle of the show.
Dark Order is back together and is gonna be a Democracy where everyone gets a vote in what happens. Again, I’m reminded of It’s Always Sunny in this episode. Reason will prevail!
We get a Dante Martin interview in the ring where he brags about almost beating the top guys and offers anyone looking for a challenge. PROBABLY got a bit too big for his britches as the lights go out and Malakai Black appears in the ring. Woof. Tough luck Dante. Mist to the face, Roundhouse Kick to the head. DEAD. The lights go out again and when they come back on Dante is no longer in the ring which I THINK was supposed to be read as Malakai Black using his DARK MAGIC to disappear his opponent before accepting his challenge… but if that was the case then the cameraman was not aware of it because we cut to outside the ring where Dante is just lying there on the ground. Now the comparisons were probably there BEFORE this segment, but after watching him utterly DESTROY Dante Martin like this I’m starting to wonder, could Black be the next Fiend? I mean Cody IS turning heel after he fought him which is what happened to Seth Rollins after the match he had with The Fiend, and I’m curious if Dante, a fresh-faced Baby Face if I ever saw one, is still gonna get booed if he winds up in the ring with Black? Definitely something to keep an eye on…
Ricky Starks is in the ring to put over the FTW belt and to bury Brian Cage by saying that he WAS gonna challenge him to a Philly Street Fight, but the guy didn’t show up for work so instead, he’s just gonna brag about how awesome he is. Here’s the thing though… Brian Cage IS here and runs out to chase after Ricky! Well jeez, dude! You probably should have CHECKED if he actually didn’t show up before you started railing against him with these lies! Well luckily for him Hobbes and Hook pull him out of the ring and they all run up the ramp with the Philly Street Fight scheduled for Rampage. I like Ricky Starks and his stint as a guest announcer on Rampage has been fun, but this seems like REALLY poor planning on his part and they should have AT LEAST indicated that Hobbs and Hook had tried to take out Cage backstage or something to at least give us a reason as to why Starks would come out and lie like this.
Hikaru Shida Vs. Serena Deeb
This match is for Shida’s fiftieth win at AEW and she would be the first to reach that milestone in the division, and instead of taking out a jobber or B-List wrestler she’s taking on former NWA champ Serena Deeb which I GUESS is the noble thing for a Baby Face to do, but let’s see if that works out for her in the end. It starts off with some back and forth action between the two before Deeb gets a Neck Breaker and starts the heat during the commercial, but Shida eventually fights out after a strong strike exchange and even does an Airplane Spin which I don’t think I’ve seen someone do since I was watching Cesaro on WWE. She follows this up with a Missile Drop Kick for a two count and tries to press the offensive, but Deeb manages to lock her in an Octopus Hold which is a fun name for a move but not enough to take Shida out. Deeb realizes this and tries to turn it into her finisher Deetox, but Shida escapes and hits a Knee Strike that forces Deeb to roll out. Not about to let her catch her breath, Shida lands a Cross Body from the middle rope to the floor and tosses Deeb back in, but Deeb lands a Chop Block and Dragon Screw into the ropes as Shida is getting in that damages Shida’s knee. With Shida hurt, Deeb gets a Swinging Neck Breaker for a two count and starts to work over the leg. She gets ahead of herself however and tries for a SECOND Chop Block that Shida manages to doge and retaliates with a Sit-Out Face Buster looking move that gets her yet another two count. Shida lands an Elbow Strike and Falcon Arrow which only gets a two count as well, and when Shida goes for a Knee Strike she’s caught by Deeb and gets her eyes raked. With Shida reeling from this illegal move, Deeb lands an Inverted Dragon Screw to damage the leg more and she finally lands the Deetox for a VERY close two count. Undeterred, Deeb puts Shida in the Serenity Lock and SMASHES Shida’s bad knee over and over again into the mat until Shida can take no more and she taps out; giving Deeb the win and keeping Shida from getting her fiftieth win. In case the eye rake didn’t make it clear, Deeb goes to grab a trophy that had been made for Shida if she won and BASHES her across the face with it before leaving the ring and leaving Shida a broken heap. It certainly wasn’t the ending I expected and as I’ve said before, I want there to be more than just Title Chase storylines in the women’s division, so if this is the start of a feud between them then I say go for it! I don’t know if Deeb can be an effective Heel, but the division could definitely use a few more of those!
Darby Allin is in the back being interviewed by Alex Marvez (uh-oh) about his match against MJF that is announced for next week. Four dudes in ski masks beta the crap out of him. It’s very obviously The Pinnacle as MJF is not one to just go into a match without some trickery, but free tip if they ACTUALLY don’t’ want people to recognize them; don’t send the dude with Wardlow’s GIGANTIC and INSTANTLY RECOGNIZABLE build! I’m pretty sure people aren’t identifying him by his face already, so the mask isn’t really doing much. The whole point of this is to postpone the match as it’s later declared that Darby is not cleared for next week’s match. As far as sympathy? I mean this is the guy who got thrown down concrete stairs about two months ago; I’m pretty sure he’s gonna be fine.
We cut to Lio Rush in the back who still hasn’t announced a match or shown up in front of the crowd, but he does seem to be pulling the Matt Hardy gambit by selling himself as a generous manager to a younger talent; in this case Dante Martin. I’d actually like to see that as I remember Lio Rush being a pretty good advocate for Bobby Lashly, and I’m curious if they are gonna turn Lio Face or Dante Heel. Perhaps it’s a preemptive measure if the crowd ends up turning on Dante after his match against Black, but I guess we’ll have to wait until we see the reaction to know for sure.
Casino Ladder Match
In case anyone needs a refresher (like me), it’s a ladder match with a casino chip suspended above the ring and the entrances are staggered until the six known entrants and the one mystery entrance are in the ring. The winner will get a shot at the AEW World Title, so the implications here are pretty significant; especially if one of the new guys gets the win!
Orange Cassidy and Pac are first
There isn’t a lot going on in the opening minutes. A bit of back and forth, but everything is done with a light touch as Cassidy is being VERY coy and Pac is pretending not to be bugged by it. Pac eventually gets things going with a Tilt-A-While Backbreaker before throwing Cassidy outside the ring, but you can’t discount Orange just yet as Pac goes to grab a ladder and pushes it into the ring only for Cassidy to run in and pushes it back out. With both guys getting ready to REALLY throw down, Pac runs in and Cassidy tries a Swinging DDT. Pac catches him however and turns it into a Brain Buster right as the bell rings for the next entrant.
Andrade El Idolo enters the match
A lot of bad blood here as he and Pac had that match with the screw job finish, so Pac lands a sliding Drop Kick to keep Andrade from entering the ring. Pac finally sets up his ladder, but Andrade will not be stopped with a mere kick to the face and so he jumps on it and the two start brawling. As payback for Drop Kick, Andrade lands this AMAZING and TERRIFYING Sunset Flip on Pack from the ladder to the mat! Pac DEFINITELY landed on his back and was nowhere near his neck, but that was still a pretty high drop! Andrade shoves Pac into the corner and is about to hit a splash when Orange runs in to stop him and starts landing the Lousy Kicks. Pac responds with a HELLACIOUS chop that sends Cassidy reeling, but he recovers quickly and lands a Hurricanrana on Andrade before finishing with a Drop Kick on Pac; all with his hands in his pockets!
Matt Hardy enters the match
Cassidy goes for an Orange Punch to try and take Hardy out quickly, but he’s caught and dropped into a Side Effect by Hardy. Hardy stays pretty dominant with judicious uses of the ladder and sets it up to climb, but Cassidy grabs his leg to pull Hardy back down. Unfortunately, there’s a commercial break here and the next entrant comes in during it.
Lance Archer enters the match
It’s clear that Archer was dominating during the commercial and with the ring mostly clear he bridges a flat ladder between a standing ladder and the ropes. He put Cassidy on it and lands a Middle Rope Cross Body on Cassidy which honestly didn’t look TOO bad, but definitely looked flashy and got the crowd to pop. Cassidy rolls out and Archer sets up a ladder when the bell rings for the next entrant.
Jon Moxley enters the match
Archer and Moxley are kind of a match made in heaven as both are on the exact same wavelength as far as styles, but there’s still enough of a physical distinction between them (Moxley’s not a small guy but he looks TINY next to Archer) that it can still look like a unique matchup. Instead of climbing the ladder during Moxley’s entrance, he runs out to meet him in the crowd so they can brawl for a bit. After a few chair shots between them, Archer ends up getting the upper hand and gets back in the ring while holding a ladder. Here’s where things get a LITTLE bit silly as Cassidy comes in and lands two Orange Punches; the first of which pushes Archer’s head between the rungs of the ladder like a cartoon character, and the second forces him to hunch over so that the ladder is standing up straight and his back is parallel with the mat. This creates a PERFECT stepping stone for Cassidy to jump on before trying to climb the upright ladder, but Moxley stops this nonsense in its tracks with a few slams on Cassidy and a Shotgun Drop Kick on Archer. And with that, it’s time for the mystery entrant to enter the match!
The final entrant is Hangman Adam Page
That’s right! The Hangman is back and he is ready to kick some butt! Moxley and Hangman trade blows back and forth before Hangman sends Moxley over the ropes and then low bridges a charging Archer! He then catches Orange Cassidy who jumps at him from the top rope and just tosses him into a ladder! A Springboard Lariat keeps Andrade out of the ring and he then goes over the ropes to wipe out Matt Hardy! Things are going GREAT for the Hangman who SURELY just took everyone out of the match, and so he starts to play for the crowd… only for Pac to come from behind and bash him with a chair. Well, it may be a harsh lesson but I’m sure he’s not about to forget it! Now Pac COULD have won the match at this point if he just set up a ladder, but instead, he has to get creative. He sets up a ladder in the CORNER and sets a table up next to it before putting Hangman on top. He climbs up the ladder to no doubt try the Black Arrow, but Andrade runs up the ladder and the two start to brawl. Pac gets the better of it and shoves Andrade off who lands SPINE FIRST onto a bridged latter, but in all the confusion, Hangman has gotten off the table and climbs up to attack Pac. Hangman gets him on his shoulders and lands a SORT OF Dead Eye on Pac through the table that THANKFULLY wasn’t a proper Dead Eye. It’s not a particularly DANGEROUS Pile Driver, but you NEVER want to send someone head and neck first into the mat from a move that high up and so he just kinda lets go of Pac on the way down so that he goes through the table on his back instead. Now with Pac and Andrade pretty much out of this, you’d think Page would go for the poker chip to win the match, but instead, he goes to play to the crowd AGAIN! Seriously, he JUST found out why that was a bad idea and does it again! Sure enough, Moxley runs in and Hangman ends up eating a Paradigm Shift, and because Moxley ISN’T a fool he immediately goes to set up the ladder to get the chip! Despite doing things the smart way though, Cassidy gets on the ladder and the two start fight fighting before Matt Hardy runs in to push it over. Hardy doesn’t go for the chip either, but at least he has a reason as he’s instead focused on Orange Cassidy who he drags to a table outside the ring and lands a Leg Drop from the top of the ladder through the table; taking them BOTH out but getting some sweet vengeance on Cassidy in the process. Moxley is alone in the ring again until Archer runs in to throw him out and sets up another ladder. Then, OUT OF NOWHERE, Hangman Adam Page springs in from the side and lands a Buckshot Lariat that sends Archer rolling out of the ring! This could be it! Hangman is ACTUALLY going up the ladder instead of showboating… BUT NO! Moxley BASHES Hangman with a chair and starts to climb up the other side of the ladder! The two brawl back and forth for a chance at the AEW World Title… and Moxley eventually falls over. There’s no one else to get in the way, so Hangman makes it to the top of the ladder and grabs the chip; winning the match and earning a shot at Kenny Omega’s title! A great match, a great finish, and a great way to end this episode of Dynamite!
I was pretty underwhelmed about the episode but then that main event came and blew everything out of the water! Sure we had decent matches like the TNT Title and the Deeb/Shida match, but everything else was kind of uninteresting and felt like filler; even the opening match which SHOULD have been a highlight of the show. It’s one thing to throw a lot of guys in the ring but it’s another to make it FEEL like a big match, and the main event showed how you can do something like this right. The match was more than just seven guys in the ring; it was a lot of individual storylines playing out and feuds being reheated in the course of trying to get up that ladder. It’s certainly a different dynamic to have seven individuals as opposed to two teams of four so I’m not going to be too hard on the opener for not being as good as the ladder match, but once again I think that more than three people per team is where things start to get unwieldy. In any case, I’m glad that we got such a good match to wrap up the show and I can’t wait to see what this means going forward! Hangman’s title run has been a long time coming and I can only hope that the payoff will be worth it!